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Discussion of “Who Owns the Future?”

August 23, 2023 @ 7:15 pm - 8:30 pm CDT


For our August monthly online discussion, friend of the Austin Forum and Professor Emeritus at The University of Texas at Austin, J. Craig Wheeler, will lead us in a conversation about the power of our personal data within this new age of the information economy.

Through his book, Who Owns the Future?, Jaron Lanier, Silicon Valley veteran and the father of virtual reality, presses readers to question the intangible data contract inflicted upon them by the world’s elite. At the cost of clicking around on the internet all day for free, hedge funds, industry powerhouses such as Google and Amazon, and the top 1% exploit our data. Lanier argues that this trade quite literally disintegrates the middle class and threatens our economy to the degree that it reaches your mortgage, insurance, and healthcare. Join us as we dive into the concepts of this book on a broader scale and consider potential solutions (our own and Lanier’s) that will give ownership and power back to data owners while strengthening the economy at all levels. This book has renewed relevance in the age of Large Language Models like ChatGPT that scrape copyrighted material from the Web with no recompense. Paying creators could be a version of Lanier’s micropayment scheme.

We encourage attendees to read the book Who Owns the Future?, as it will foster richer, more in-depth conversations. Reading the book is not a requirement to participate in the event. We look forward to seeing you there!



August 23, 2023
7:15 pm - 8:30 pm CDT
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Austin Forum on Technology & Society



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