Home > Uncategorized > Jon Lanier – Web 2.0 Curmudgeon or thoughtful Humanist?

Jon Lanier – Web 2.0 Curmudgeon or thoughtful Humanist?

Jaron Lanier’s work has undoubtedly crossed the screen of your computer, phone or electronic media device at some point.  Most Web 2.0 collaborative applications feature avatars, something that he helped created in the mid-1980s.  Though he created this and many other programs that are laced throughout the Internet’s collaborative functions, he denounces Web 2.0 as “bait by the lords of the clouds to lure hypothetical advertisers.”

In his book, “You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto” he terms work created today as “endless rehashed content”.  The article, “The virtual curmudgeon” in The Economist Technology Quarterly, September 4, 2010 highlights Lanier’s life and work.   All very impressive, a rags to riches, to rags to consultant story about an obvious genius who’s hand has touched the very creation of the collaborative, evolving web.

I can’t argue with his insight, and some of his criticism.  Passing information on without original thought is borderline plagiarism, even in collaborative circles like blogs and so forth.  Doing it with minimal thought can be looked at as a dehumanizing activity as you really are not putting yourself into the work.

At CAM High School I’ve noticed that it is hard for students to express original thought.  This is for several reasons.  The first is on us as a staff as we too often allow students to complete projects or assignments that call for critical thinking with copy-paste or very unoriginal information.  The second is on us as well, in that much of our curriculum can be completed without critical thought, reflection time and assignments.  But the last is on the students, maybe fearful of expressing themselves not wanting to fail or endure the comments and scrutiny that expressing one’s true opinion brings forth.

My challenge in this class is to try to have you all open up and express yourself AND how to comment on that expression.  Any ideas, because I’m all ears.

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