While a growing consensus from the world’s online community is that the internet should be free for everyone, just as all useful information should be, not everyone agrees. Computer scientist Jaron Lanier has spoken out at the Economist’s Tech Frontiers conference, about how he believes unless we monetise web content and cordon it off, it will lead to “market contraction and unemployment.”
He discussed working with IT pioneer Ted Nelson, saying that having one version of any creative piece would lead to people making money from their work, instead of it proliferating. “He wanted to avoid the trap of unemployment through automation. There had been concern that technology would get good enough so people wouldn’t be needed,” Lanier explains (via Wired).
He further describes artists as becoming increasingly impoverished. If they don’t make money from music sales, they have to use merchandise and live shows. With 3D printing though, merchandise becomes harder to monetise and artists struggle – so he says.
A lot of artists however are fine with that idea – they get to do a job that they love doing and people love them for doing. A real one doesn’t need millions of pounds to make that worthwhile.
KitGuru Says: A sceptical mind might take note of the fact that Lanier has a book coming out in a few days – like someone else I know who’s name is identical to mine – and that perhaps he’s being deliberately controversial in order to drum up attention for his work.