/‘Extinction is on the table’: Jaron Lanier warns of tech’s existential threat to humanity

‘Extinction is on the table’: Jaron Lanier warns of tech’s existential threat to humanity

Key idea: The American computer scientist, who coined the term ‘virtual reality,’ cautions against online ‘psychological operatives’

Original author and publication date: Edward Helmore (The Guardian) ) – November 27, 2022

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Let’s be honest: human extinction is a real possibility regardless of our desire or willingness to address the issue.

From the article:   

Jaron Lanier, the eminent American computer scientist, composer and artist, is no stranger to skepticism around social media, but his current interpretations of its effects are becoming darker and his warnings more trenchant.

Lanier, a dreadlocked free-thinker credited with coining the term “virtual reality”, has long sounded dire sirens about the dangers of a world over-reliant on the internet and at the increasing mercy of tech lords, their social media platforms and those who work for them.

Nothing about the last few weeks – of chaos on Twitter and the ever-increasing spread of conspiracy theory and disinformation – has changed that. The current state of the tech industry is ripe with danger and poses an existential threat, he believes.

“People survive by passing information between themselves,” Lanier, 61, told the Guardian in an interview. “We’re putting that fundamental quality of humanness through a process with an inherent incentive for corruption and degradation. The fundamental drama of this period is whether we can figure out how to survive properly with those elements or not.”

The exaggerated focus on Twitter in recent months after its chaotic take over by billionaire Elon Musk follows longstanding concerns about Facebook and others, including state actors. He mentions “psychological operatives” working for Vladimir Putin and the Chinese communist state apparatus. All of them are filtering or promoting information for their own gains. In short, the web is not a free market of information as originally envisioned. It is a gamed system being rampantly abused.

As we enter an era where nothing means anything because it’s all just about power … it’s very hard to put ideas out and very easy for them to come across not as intended

Read here the complete article