Colloquium Speaker Suggests Improvements to World He Helped Colonize

Published 03.18.2014


Bill Astore, professor of history, introduces Lanier to the Klump Academic Center Auditorium crowd.

Lanier illustrates a point.A Penn College information technology student questions Lanier’s views.To close the event, Lanier – also a musician and visual artist – serenades his audience.Lanier hosts a well-attended post-event book signing.Virtual reality pioneer and bestselling author Jaron Lanier offered a lecture Monday as part of Penn College’s Centennial Colloquia Series. The series features presentations that explore the impact of technology on the past, present and future, and Lanier brought his perspective on the economic effects of information technology and the open-source sharing of information. Citing examples from music to mortgage lending, Lanier – who helped build the infrastructure that enables information sharing – explained that those who are best able to manipulate the information benefit exponentially, while those middle-class workers who provide services lose income potential. Those already seeing the effects include musicians, writers and language translators, but the pinch could be felt in the future among manufacturing employees as additive manufacturing becomes more sophisticated, and by drivers as automated vehicles emerge. Lanier, author of the books “You Are Not a Gadget” and “Who Owns the Future?” proposes a system of paying for the information we consume.