Confirm or Deny: Jaron Lanier


Elon Musk is from another planet.

No, he’s from the same planet.

Facebook is a stupid human trick.

I would say Facebook is the end of all human tricks.

Wikipedia’s the devil.

When Wikipedia came out, I objected to it because I didn’t like this illusion that there was a single truth about many things, or one official point of view. But at this point, criticizing Wikipedia doesn’t make sense anymore. They’re just being killed by Google because Google regurgitates Wikipedia articles without Wikipedia getting any benefits.

Scientists are on the verge of bringing back woolly mammoths.

If someone wants to revive a woolly mammoth, my feeling is, I’m not here as a cultural critic. I’m just trying to deal with the most basic issues of how we can survive. As far as the details of what people are into, hell, if they want to fornicate with a sex robot on top of a resurrected woolly mammoth, I feel like it is not my business.

You own a Microsoft Zune.

Well, look at this house. How would I know?

Yo-Yo Ma is overrated.

Yo-Yo Ma is wonderful, a fine, fine cello player. He’s the sweetest guy in the world.

You can’t play a Serpent or an Ophicleide.

Deny. I dare you to stump me. I don’t think you can come up with an instrument that’s obscure enough that I can’t go and pick it up and play whatever you ask me to. (Laughs.) How’s that for arrogance?

Virtual reality started as a way to make a better air guitar.

No. (Laughs.) We did do air guitars with data gloves originally, though.

The internet is just a passing fad.

I’ve actually thought about that quite a lot. That’s a profound question. Because most of us who worked on it thought, “O.K., this will be here forever and this is the thing.” But it’s turning out so badly. I mean, I feel like it’s such a failure on so many important levels, that it’s conceivable that people will decide it’s over and try to do some other form of digital networking. The internet might be remembered as a failed thing. It breaks my heart to even think that, and I hope it isn’t true, but I’m beginning to wonder.

To read more from Maureen Dowd’s interview with Jaron Lanier, click here.

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