"Delete Your Account" Warns Virtual Reality Founding Father

In a new explosive interview, Silicon Valley tech pioneer and creator of the virtual reality 'avatar' Jaron Lanier tells people to delete your social media accounts due to the strong correlation between persistent social media usage and a dramatic societal rise in depression, anger, and anxiety that he says is the result of internet-induced modified forms of behavior.  

The warning comes in the wake of his new book which details how the creators of social media and the early engineers behind the internet "foolishly laid the foundations for global monopolies."

Virtual Reality pioneer Jaron Lanier with a prototype VR kit in 1990. Photograph: Rex Features

Jaron Lanier is best known as a founding father of the field of virtual reality and throughout his polymath career has written extensively on human-computer interaction, including most recently in his book Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.

Lanier explained in a recent UK Channel 4 interview

When you watch the television the television isn't watching you. When you see the billboard the billboard isn't seeing you... When you use these new designs — social media, search, YouTube — when you see these things, you're being observed constantly and algorithms are taking that information and changing what you see next.

According to Lanier's bio, he coined the term 'Virtual Reality' (VR) and in the early 1980s founded VPL Research, the first company to sell VR products. In the late 1980s he led the team that developed the first implementations of multi-person virtual worlds using head mounted displays, as well as the first "avatars," and developed the first widely used software platform architecture for immersive virtual reality applications. 

As he defiantly asserts on his personal website, Lanier himself has "no social media accounts at all and all purported ones are fake."

He's elsewhere said that most internet and social media pioneers in Silicon Valley "have regrets right now" after perfecting what is essentially mass human behavioral engineering and that that internet addiction is not only ruining people's lives but the political process as well.

This is what I could call almost a stealthy addiction. It's a statistical addiction.

What it says is we will get the broad population to use the services a lot, we'll get them hooked through a scheme of rewards and punishment, and the rewards are when you're retweeted and the punishment is when you're treated badly by others online, and then within that we'll very gradually start to leverage that, to change them.

It's this very kind of stealthy manipulation of the population. -Jaron Lanier to Channel 4

Lanier described this process of manipulation more in-depth in his book, where he puts it like this: “The algorithm is trying to capture the perfect parameters for manipulating a brain, while the brain, in order to seek out deeper meaning, is changing in response to the algorithm’s experiments…Because the stimuli from the algorithm doesn’t mean anything, because they genuinely are random, the brain isn’t responding to anything real, but to a fiction. That process – of becoming hooked on an elusive mirage – is addiction.”

Of the nature of this addiction he described further to Channel 4:

So it's not as dramatic as a heroin addict or a gambling addict, but it is the same principle.

...It's made people jittery and cranky, it's made teens especially depressed, which can be quite severe. 

The scariest example is a correlation between rises in teen suicide and the rise in use of social media.

Concerning practical advice especially to young people who've grown up within a digital and device driven world:

If you're a young person and you've only lived with social media, your first duty is to yourself. You have to know yourself.

You should experience travel, you should experience challenge to yourself... you can't know yourself without perspective,so at least give it six months without social media.

And among the more worrisome results of this process for society as a whole?

Though as Lanier explains in his book the internet was not established with built-in monetized functions, the potential of the architecture to be used wrongly for "global monopolies" whether political or economic has proven explosive: “Everyone knew these functions … would be needed. We figured it would be wiser to let entrepreneurs fill in the blanks than to leave that task to government … We foolishly laid the foundations for global monopolies.”

View the full interview below:

* * *

Jaron Lanier's Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now according to his book:

1) You are losing your free will.

2) Quitting social media is the most finely targeted way to resist the insanity of our times.

3) Social media is making you an asshole.

4) Social media is underming truth.

5) Social media is making what you say meaningless.

6) Social media is destroying your capacity for empathy.

7) Social media is making you unhappy.

8) Social media doesn't want you to have economic dignity.

9) Social media is making politics impossible.

10) Social media hates your soul.


tenpanhandle Lost in translation Tue, 06/19/2018 - 21:58 Permalink

Jaron Lanier argues we are hooked through a scheme of rewards and punishments - making us 'cranky' and 'jittery' and modifying our behaviour.


I've long felt (30+years) that television has been causing this sort of thing. Long before the internet, broadcast television began it by brainwashing boomers and gen-xers leading us to this place where the current generations are willing to totally turn their lives over to their electronics.

Broadcast tv ads used to instantaneously fuck with my being and I would have to get rid of my tv (feed) for sanity's sake.  Between ads and the produced shows, the brainwashing has been going on for some time but now,  I see, it is being personalized and literally pumped right into the faces of people.   I have been without tv for years and never had a social media account except maybe here, if it applies. 

In reply to by Lost in translation

MsCreant p4424119 Tue, 06/19/2018 - 22:12 Permalink

We know you are depressed and want to kill yourself. You have our blessing. You can do that, or get the fuck off this platform before it is too late. There are amateurs and professionals in terms of doom porn. "When the going gets weird, the weird go pro" (Hunter S. Thompson). We are well, well, well, beyond weird.  Scat...

In reply to by p4424119

Lost in translation J S Bach Tue, 06/19/2018 - 21:28 Permalink

I used to watch YouTube to teach myself how to detail-strip certain firearms, but gave up the practice as early channels went commercial/retail, or simply became outlets for the narcissistic tendencies of their hosts.

Too many Americans need someone to “follow,” literally and figuratively, I guess...

In reply to by J S Bach

Radical Marijuana dark pools of soros Wed, 06/20/2018 - 01:17 Permalink

Zero Hedge is the only Web site I have posted on that has not censored me (which is why it is the only one where I still do, so far ...)

Hah! I have found that social media which I was invited to join by friends long ago deleted me before I could delete them. For instance, about a week ago, Linkedin unilaterally deleted my account with them.

The underlying issue is that Globalized Neolithic Civilization is fundamentally slavery systems, and therefore, all technologies end up being channeled through those slavery systems to make them WORSE. Furthermore, the deeper issues are WAY WORSE, because there must be some death control systems (which then back up the debt control systems.) Since endless exponential growth is absolutely impossible, it does not take too long for some ecology to evolve some death control systems to stop that growth, and within that context, some economic systems emerge doing that too, since political economy exists inside the context of human ecology.

The essential sociopolitical issues are that there are, and necessarily must be, some death control systems, while the inherent and innate nature of that imperative drives those systems to become as dishonest as possible. Since the biggest and best organized gangsters made and maintained Globalized Neolithic Civilization to become what it is, OF COURSE, technologies such as "social media"  have ended up driving "global monopolies."

"9) Social media is making politics impossible."

Real politics is primarily concerned with the death control systems, but the actually existing death control systems have been driven to become as dishonest as humanly possible, while about exponentially advancing technologies are enabling that to become about exponentially more dishonest, because of the real ways that politics is applied human ecology.

"What is essentially mass human behavioral engineering"  should be regarded as emerging out of the long history of warfare being the oldest and best developed forms of social science and engineering. The money systems were backed by the murder systems. That is, money is measurement backed by murder. OF COURSE, those who make money from "social media"  are doing so inside of the overall context of private property based on backing up claims with coercions. After all, within the overall context of Globalized Neolithic Civilization, almost everyone is participating inside systems which are based on the public powers of governments enforcing frauds by private banks, and the big corporations that grew up around those big banks.

There is plenty of evidence that all the biggest "social media"  companies agreed to play ball with the banksters, which were the reasons for why those companies were able to get started and grow to increasingly become "global monopolies."

As long as it continues to be politically impossible to develop better death control systems, then those will default to covertly operating according to the principles and methods of organized crime. That excessively successful control of Civilization through applications of the methods of organized crime is resulting in Civilization manifesting runaway criminal insanities.

In the video embedded in that article, Jaron Lanier refers to the "manipulation engines" as becoming "insane business models."   However, as someone who has been personally successful living inside those systems, Lanier apparently is able to hold the opinion that the markets which resulted in the dominance of those "insane business models" were still relatively benign. Hence, Lanier implicitly relies upon using the Hanlon's Razor presumptions, that the existing systems were more due to  some series of stupid incompetencies, rather than due to maliciousness maximization.

Since the younger you are, the more you are being lied to, cheated and robbed by the basic social slavery systems you were born into, OF COURSE, the younger you are, the worse the actual effects of "social media global monopolies."

"The brain isn’t responding to anything real, but to a fiction,"  because of the degree to which the "social media"  are necessarily emerging inside the overall sociopolitical context where war was the father of all of those systems (as Heraclitus the obscure Greek philosopher pointed out long ago) while successful warfare was based on deceits and treacheries (as the oldest book on the Art of War pointed out long ago.) 

Overall, my attitude towards the article above was that it was another belated reactionary revolutionary exhorting the mainstream morons to go absurdly backwards.


Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System

By Donella Meadows

“People know intuitively where leverage points are. Time after time I’ve done an analysis of a company, and I’ve figured out a leverage point — in inventory policy, maybe, or in the relationship between sales force and productive force, or in personnel policy. Then I’ve gone to the company and discovered that there’s already a lot of attention to that point. Everyone is trying very hard to push it IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!”

-- Jay Forrester

"... Counterintuitive. That’s Forrester’s word to describe complex systems. Leverage points are not intuitive. Or if they are, we intuitively use them backward, systematically worsening whatever problems we are trying to solve. ... we know from bitter experience that, because of counterintuitiveness, when we do discover the system’s leverage points, hardly anybody will believe us."

Welcome to Bizarro World, folks!

The realistic resolutions to the real problems require embracing the imperatives that there must be some death control systems, while understanding those imperatives requires recognizing how and why the actually existing systems were driven to become as dishonest as possible, and indeed, are almost automatically becoming about exponentially more dishonest, as about exponentially advancing technologies are channeled through "social media"  systems based on increasingly integrated and sophisticated slavery systems, as demonstrated by following the public money supplies to their source, in order to recognize that those have become debt slavery systems, within which the "social media global monopolies"  necessarily developed.

The first and last of the ten points listed in the article above use popular phrases which are nothing more than transcendental poetry, since those words have no operational definitions:

1) You are losing your free will...

10) Social media hates your soul.

That kind of old-fashioned language provides nothing useful with respect to better understanding how artificial selection systems developed inside the context of natural selection systems. That kind of reliance upon the DUALITIES of false fundamental dichotomies, and the related impossible ideals, results in recommending bogus "solutions"  which are ultimately BACKWARDS!

To better embrace technologies should be inspired and guided by the series of intellectual scientific revolutions and profound paradigm shifts which occurred in mathematical physics (which are what made the electronics possible.) Doing so requires using more UNITARY MECHANISMS, to better understand human beings and Globalized Neolithic Civilization as manifestations of general energy systems.

Natural selection was internalized as human intelligence, which was then applied to the most important selection pressures, which were other groups of people. Hence, the history of warfare, as what made and maintained Globalized Neolithic Civilization, within which context emerged "social media global monopolies"  making money by even greater enslavement.

Practically speaking, recommending to not use "social media,"  because those are enslaving, is similar to recommending to not use the public money supply, since that is a debt slavery system. Good luck with that!  At the present time, in the foreseeable future, the "social media"  that China is currently making compulsory are the kinds which will probably become imposed, as the runaway fascist plutocracy increases its fascist police state powers. People may eventually be obliged to have an official "social media"  account, which they will not be allowed to delete, without facing deleterious consequences.

I agree that "you can't know yourself without perspective,"  and that to temporarily stop indulging in habits may provide some useful personal perspectives. However, the article above was nothing more than another superficially correct analysis, resulting in similarly superficial "solutions."

In reply to by dark pools of soros

tmosley Oliver Klozoff Tue, 06/19/2018 - 20:45 Permalink

Message boards aren't really "social media". You can't see every little detail of every user's life by clicking their profile or whatever. Something that tends to make people depressed because they tend to think the facades other people put up are real. In reality when you see someone showboating, it usually indicates debt finance, which means they aren't sleeping at night. Not a great idea to try to emulate that to get some amount of social standing.

In reply to by Oliver Klozoff