Jaron Lanier Gets Old And Crotchety; Maybe He Should Kick Those Kids Off His Virtual Reality Lawn
from the ok-enough dept
Honestly, it's difficult to see why it's worthwhile to waste too much time responding to arguments that were debunked ages ago, but just to run through a few of them quickly:
- Lanier falsely believes in the idea of "lock-in" with technology (the claim that the VCR beat Betamax despite being worse and that QWERTY beat Dvorak despite being worse due to "lock-in") is why the internet is so screwed up today. Except, of course the classic examples of lock-in were shown years ago to be false. The VCR beat Betamax because it was better at what people wanted (the ability to record a lot on a single tape). QWERTY is no worse than Dvorak.
- Lanier pulls out Nick Carr's tired and silly claim that people doing user-generated content are "sharecroppers." This ignores that the whole reason they use those sites is that they get value in return. It fails to realize the non-monetary reasons why people use those sites.
- Lanier thinks that the "answer" to file sharing online is to rearchitect the internet for micropayments. Again, this shows a fundamental misunderstanding of both economics and psychology. People hate micropayments and they're incredibly inefficient from an economic standpoint. It also shrinks the market of ideas and holds back communication.
- Lanier argues that the market for "creative people" is shrinking. Apparently he hasn't read any of the recent studies that have shown that every aspect of the music business has grown -- except for the business selling plastic discs.
- Most amusing of all, he argues that "artificial scarcities... allow the economy to function." He even admits that they are artificial scarcities, but still thinks they're a good thing. Again, this seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. It's hard to talk logically to someone who thinks that having less of a resource is somehow good for the economy.