Who owns the future – Jaron Lanier

A book about silent services. Our details that are being sold to third parties without our agreement, let alone benefits for us. How else can a company that is only giving us information making money out of us? This books gives a genius insight into the world of ownership. Is my Facebook profile picture mine? Or is it just my head and can Facebook do with it whatever it wants? We don’t know these things as all that is written about this issue is far too complicated for anyone who isn’t a lawyer. Lanier is able to pose questions, go for the extreme and then get back to reality where he shows strikingly how our world is shapable. 

While reading the book I had the feeling that Lanier was urging us, readers, to rethink value and ownership. He never said that any situation was good or bad, but he did explain how all these elements are a part of what we know as our reality. In any given situation we would ask someone: why do you need to know this. But when it comes to our behaviour online we don’t seem to care. As a designer with a possible future in chair positions I will at least review how we deal with these elements of our world. If possible I’d like to show what is happening with data we take or use. 

At the moment we, 6 service designers and myself, are building a service where the data of people is used. We made very clear that the benefits would not just be for the seller and buyer but also for the person who undoubtedly shares his information. Perhaps that is a step into the right direction.