Jaron Lanier held an opening keynote at CeBIT in Hannover today.
He was supposed to talk about VR, but instead he mainly spoke about the “free” business model used by Google, Facebook and other social media platforms.
He said that the business model is sick, it is stupid, dangerous and undignified. On the other hand, he praised businesses like Netflix, which for a monthly fee is creating some of the best content for years.
He was at pains to repeatedly point out that he was an enemy of technology, and he saw it as a great way for improving communications between people and that technology is “magical”. But the free business model, subverted by advertising is a “fake” business model.
He went on to say, that the whole idea of big businesses having no real relationship with their customers (their users), but only with advertisers.
How stupid is it, that two people communicating with each other do it on a platform that hands over their information to a third party to allow them to tailored advertising, or as he called it, “behaviour modification loops”.
He also went on to say that adertising in-and-of itself is not bad, but the tailored advertisments are the bad player here.
He also said the hacker culture, free information and open software (i.e. the original definition of a hacker, not the one corrupted by the press in recent years) is partly to blame.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found any English language articles on his talk yet, there are a dozen or so German ones so far…