Innovation Heroes: Jaron Lanier and The Social Dilemma
Season 1, Episode 5

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Netflix’s documentary “The Social Dilemma” provides a terrifying look at the dark side of social media. As it so happens, the film was released at a time when millions of people worldwide were getting used to working all day long in front of a screen, on enterprise collaboration software and video calls.

For podcast host Peter Bean, the timing has raised a few questions: Should we be worried about enterprise software taking over our lives? How can we build a better, healthier digital world?

To dive deeper into this topic, Peter invited renowned futurist Jaron Lanier to join him on the latest episode of SHI’s Innovation Heroes podcast.

Lanier — a musician, computer scientist, and technology philosopher — is author of “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now” and one of the key voices featured in “The Social Dilemma.” As one of the forefathers of virtual reality (VR), he also invented the Nintendo Power Glove and Microsoft Team’s Together Mode.

On the podcast, Peter and Jaron discuss whether social media’s dark side is creeping into the enterprise, the future of virtual reality, and Jaron’s work with Microsoft throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The right way to answer whether you should be alarmed about something is to look at the results and try and be empirical about it,” said Jaron, explaining why he has hope for enterprise software. “The time to be alarmed about whether that’s happening in the enterprise is whether we see evidence that it’s happening.”

Jaron and Peter also go into detail about the future of artificial intelligence (AI), as well as Jaron’s original vision for the Nintendo Power Glove and VR.

“AI is not actually any particular kind of software,” noted Lanier. “It’s a way of thinking about software, in which the computer is not a tool or a gathering place or anything like that. Instead, it’s like a new creature, a new colleague, a new personage that will join you on the stage.”

Listen to the full episode now on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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