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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

17 Refreshing Books to Read This Summer

Text messages and Facebook posts produce many twists in “Social Creature.” The futurist philosopher Jaron Lanier has sent forth “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now,” which mixes prophetic wisdom with a simple ...
Posted: May 20, 2018, 12:21 am

Review: Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier

I’m not sure I need Jaron Lanier’s Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. All by myself, I already have loads of reasons. There are the novels I haven’t finished, and the ones I haven’t even started. There’s the way I ...
Posted: May 18, 2018, 4:29 pm

From AI-Composed Music to a New York-to-Shanghai SpaceX Rocket, Here Are 5 Amazing Ideas From TED2018

Here are five that stuck with me. The big social media companies need a radical shift in strategy. Polymath and computer scientist Jaron Lanier argued that social networks are actually behavioral modification empires. This caught my attention because I am ...
Posted: May 7, 2018, 6:30 am
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