Dawn of the new everything Encounters with reality and virtual reality

Jaron Lanier

Book - 2017

The Microsoft interdisciplinary scientist largely credited with popularizing virtual reality reflects on his lifelong relationship with technology, showing VR's ability to illuminate and amplify our understanding of our species and how the brain and body connect to the world. By the author of You Are Not a Gadget. --Publisher

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Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Published
New York : Henry Holt and Company 2017.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xv, 351 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9781627794091
1627794093
Main Author
Jaron Lanier (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Digital pioneer, technological visionary, and Internet curmudgeon Lanier is also a best-selling author (Who Owns the Future?, 2013), popular speaker, and Silicon Valley legend. With his latest book, he digs deep into his own past, offering glimpses of a tragic childhood that was punctuated by his unique way of seeing the world around him. Lanier's many fans will be thrilled to learn of his often-otherworldly dreams as a young child and how he coped with the cruelty of classmates who could not understand the unique perspective he possessed. He covers his unorthodox, barely imaginable path to creative success that led him to create the start-up VPL Research, which brought virtual-reality products to the world and introduced numerous innovations, including the use of cyber avatars. From revisiting the devastating death of his mother to ruminating on virtual reality and reflecting on what's involved in running a business, Lanier impresses with his sincerity and insight. This culturally significant title with its compelling personal narrative proves yet again that Lanier is a thinker whose work should be read and contemplated. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Trust tech genius Lanier to use an innovative format to deliver an innovative idea. Integrating memoir, science writing, philosophical reflection, and down-to-earth advice, he reveals that virtual reality can clarify how the brain and the body connect to the world, giving us a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. Lanier moves from his New Mexico childhood and the loss of his mother to his first start-up and his ascent to the height of his profession, with two international best sellers to his name (Who Owns the Future? and You Are Not a Gadget). Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Lanier (Who Owns the Future), often considered the founder of virtual reality (VR), tells about his unconventional childhood in Las Cruces, NM, and his years creating this emerging discipline in Silicon Valley. In several challenging chapters, the author explains the science and applications of VR, alongside a mix of captivating family stories. Lanier's father escaped Ukrainian pogroms during World War II, and his mother was a concentration camp survivor who was killed in a car crash; a loss that has haunted Lanier throughout his life. As a teenager, Lanier became a teaching assistant at New Mexico State University. Much of the book recounts his years at VPL, a company he founded in 1984 to sell VR-related equipment. VPL and the author parted ways in 1992 when this self-acknowledged "laid back country hippie morphed into a high-stress CEO." Lanier writes with grace and humor; his empathy shines throughout. VERDICT The author patiently describes the scientific nuances of VR, but these chapters may be challenging for general readers. All audiences will enjoy Lanier's tales of his youth and the early years of Silicon Valley's emergence as an international center of VR and artificial intelligence.—Karl Helicher, formerly with Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Alternating between personal memoir and the history of virtual reality technology leading up to take, computer scientist Lanier (Who Owns the Future?) transports readers to the experimental, obsessive, and even messianic intellectual tech guru circuit of the 1970s and 1980s, where he first spawned the idea for virtual reality. Writing with a performative style of prose that switches between self-help book and self-involved philosophical treatise, Lanier spews optimism about human potential and cognitive enhancement, alongside stories of long-held grudges and bitterness about situations around the early history of his startup, VPL Research, and his frustration around the field's disinterest in what he feels ought to be the current focus of VR, somatic and haptic experience. Lanier's insights on the human parameters of VR experiences, the relationship between minds and bodies, and even the art of perfecting the tech demo suggest that he understands people well, but his stories of relationships—both professional and personal—gone bad imply otherwise. With this cleverly crafted autobiography of sorts, Lanier convinces readers that he's both brilliant and inspiring enough to keep the podium in a field that's gone from fringe to corporate. (Nov.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The Microsoft interdisciplinary scientist credited with popularizing virtual reality reflects on his lifelong relationship with technology, showing VR's ability to illuminate and amplify how the brain and body connect to the world.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The Microsoft interdisciplinary scientist largely credited with popularizing virtual reality reflects on his lifelong relationship with technology, showing VR's ability to illuminate and amplify our understanding of our species and how the brain and body connect to the world. By the author of You Are Not a Gadget.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Named one of the best books of 2017 by The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, & VoxThe father of virtual reality explains its dazzling possibilities by reflecting on his own lifelong relationship with technologyBridging the gap between tech mania and the experience of being inside the human body, Dawn of the New Everything is a look at what it means to be human at a moment of unprecedented technological possibility. Through a fascinating look back over his life in technology, Jaron Lanier, an interdisciplinary scientist and father of the term “virtual reality,” exposes VR’s ability to illuminate and amplify our understanding of our species, and gives readers a new perspective on how the brain and body connect to the world. An inventive blend of autobiography, science writing, philosophy and advice, this book tells the wild story of his personal and professional life as a scientist, from his childhood in the UFO territory of New Mexico, to the loss of his mother, the founding of the first start-up, and finally becoming a world-renowned technological guru.Understanding virtual reality as being both a scientific and cultural adventure, Lanier demonstrates it to be a humanistic setting for technology. While his previous books offered a more critical view of social media and other manifestations of technology, in this book he argues that virtual reality can actually make our lives richer and fuller.