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Jaron Lanier (/??d??????r??n l????n????r/, born May 3, 1960) is an American writer, computer scientist, and composer of classical music. A pioneer in the field of virtual reality (a term he is credited with popularizing), Lanier and Thomas G. Zimmerman left Atari in 1985 to found VPL Research, Inc., the first company to sell VR goggles and gloves. In the late 1990s, Lanier worked on applications for Internet2, and in the 2000s, he was a visiting scholar at Silicon Graphics and various universities. Lanier has composed classical music and is a collector of rare instruments; his acoustic album, Instruments of Change (1994) features Asian wind and string instruments such as the khene mouth organ, the suling flute, and the sitar-like esraj. Lanier was the director of an experimental short film, and teamed with Mario Grigorov to compose the soundtrack to the documentary film, The Third Wave (2007). In 2010, Lanier was nominated in the TIME 100 list of most influential people.


Born Jaron Zepel Lanier in New York City, Lanier was raised in Mesilla, New Mexico. Lanier's mother and father were Jewish immigrants from Europe; his mother was a survivor from a Vienna concentration camp and his father's family had emigrated from Ukraine to escape the pogroms. When he was nine years old, his mother was killed in a car accident. He lived in tents for an extended period with his father before embarking on a seven-year project to build a geodesic dome home that he helped design. At the age of 13, Lanier convinced New Mexico State University to let him enroll. At NMSU, Lanier met Marvin Minsky and Clyde Tombaugh, and took graduate-level courses; he received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study mathematical notation, which led him to learn computer programming. From 1979 to 1980, the NSF-funded project at NMSU focused on "digital graphical simulations for learning". Lanier also attended art school in Manhattan during this time, but returned to New Mexico and

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Jaron Lanier Latest News

Most people in Silicon Valley 'have regrets right now,' says Microsoft's Jaron Lanier

Microsoft Interdisciplinary Scientist Jaron Lanier says Silicon Valley developers knew they were making tech addictive, but said things have gone too far. Lanier said those mechanisms have made ...
Posted: March 28, 2018, 11:42 am

Jaron Lanier Helped Create Social Media, And Now He's Begging You To Leave It Behind

Social networks were supposed to be the ultimate tool of democratization. In the earliest days of the internet, many in the tech world congratulated themselves for ushering in a new era of dialogue in ...
Posted: February 14, 2019, 1:18 pm

Jaron Lanier’s argument for getting off Facebook

Editor’s note: The author, composer and computer scientist Jaron Lanier has published a new book, “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now,” that comes out later this month. ...
Posted: May 17, 2018, 1:41 pm
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