Jaron Lanier is a paradigmatic exemplar of the Silicon Valley rise-and-fall narrative described in this article. A hippie kid (raised in a geodesic dome!), his faith in the liberatory power of the imagination drove him to become the "Father of VR". Today he rails against the tech establishment he helped found, with books like "Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now".

Lanier's diagnosis is, of course, different from Poulos'. He doesn't blame his own "spiritual but not religious" ethos for Silicon Valley's long descent from utopian youth to exploitative maturity. In his telling, the digital pioneers recoiled at the sordid mercantile prospect of charging fees for service. Essentially communists, they wanted to make information free for the masses...but they were capitalist enough that they wanted to be compensated well for their work. Hence they made a Faustian bargain with advertising, not realizing that advertising under digital conditions would evolve into a form of mind control.

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