Author Jaron Lanier talks to the AlwaysOn crowd at Stanford this past week about his thinking behind where the Internet is going, where it should be going and why what we think is Open today is more ‘big brother’ than you realize.

“If everything was really open, Google wouldn’t have a reason to exist,” he says. “Both are not operable or separable from each other. You can’t have the Linux model without the Steve Jobs model and vice versa. They need each other.”

He adds, “When industrialization took off, there was a huge anxiety about fear of being obsolete – that is a lot of what motivated Marxism. Re: Obama’s decline in popularity, you’ll also find that fundamentalism is going up as well. If modernity isn’t working, you’ll always see fundamentalism going up as well.”

Not unlike Andrew Keen’s sentiment on the ‘crowd mentality, he suggests that what you really get crowds and crowd mentality is mediocrity. With crowd sourcing comes homogeneousness of the human. He says, “if you ask a crowd to invent something, I see no evident of it happening,” and discounts the examples people bring up again and again: Linux and Wikipedia, although not in a way that suggested that they don’t and haven’t brought value. Below is his talk.

In the following two videos, he takes questions from the audience and from moderators Jamis MacNiven and AlwaysOn founder and producer Tony Perkins.

footer creative commons