Colloquium Speaker Suggests Improvements to World He Helped Colonize

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

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

Lanier illustrates a point.

Lanier illustrates a point.

A Penn College information technology student questions Lanier’s views.

A Penn College information technology student questions Lanier’s views.

To close the event, Lanier – also a musician and visual artist – serenades his audience.

To close the event, Lanier – also a musician and visual artist – serenades his audience.

Lanier hosts a well-attended post-event book signing.

Lanier hosts a well-attended post-event book signing.

Virtual reality pioneer and best-selling 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.

Countdown to the Centennial logo

2014 marks a milestone in the institution's rich history, from the inception of adult classes in the Williamsport Area School District in 1914, through its evolution into Williamsport Technical Institute, Williamsport Area Community College, and present-day Pennsylvania College of Technology. Read about the institution's history →

3 Comments

  1. Larry Leavitt says:

    WOW – What a presentation. To me, he brought an integration of technology and parts of our society together, showing the effects and cautioning the negatives that we may face and do face in our fast-evolving technical culture. What an eclectic view of our society.

    Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:43 am
  2. Lynn Snyder says:

    It would benefit college students and others that could not attend to have these presentations recorded so that they would be available to hear later as podcasts.

    Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:45 am
  3. PCToday editor says:

    Most outside speakers (including Jaron Lanier) typically have provisions in their contracts that prohibit posting of audio and video.

    Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:49 am

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