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You Are Not a Gadget

By far one of the most interesting sessions I attended at South by Southwest Interactive last week, was a refreshing talk by Jaron Lanier, whom can I remember being a sort of techno-guru back when all this stuff was new. Anyway, he has a book out now called You Are Not a Gadget, a deeply humanist critique of the rah-rah-rah-ing of the give-it-away-for-free, social-media-enabled Web 2.0 culture that Lanier believes is dehumanizing and, literally, devaluing us. While Jaron is as affable and engaging a speaker as you could hope for, it’s tough, heady stuff that you might think wouldn’t go over big with the South By crowd. But almost no one walked out of his talk — can’t say the same for the unintentional humor of Evan William’s massive-fail “keynote.”

South by Southwest does not make video of talks available to the public (which is really too bad — wish they’d follow the example of TED and do so), but in this excerpt from a talk presented at Zocalo Public Square, Lanier covers some of the same general territory.

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