A Renaissance Man for the 21st century, Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author who writes on numerous topics, including high-technology business, the social impact of technology, the philosophy of consciousness and information, Internet politics, and the future of humanism. In 2005, Jaron Lanier was included in the top one hundred public intellectuals in the world by Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines. The Encyclopedia Britannica includes him in its list of history’s 300 or so greatest inventors.
A pioneer in virtual reality (a term he coined), Lanier founded VPL Research, the first company to sell VR products, and led teams creating technology for medicine, design, and numerous other fields. From 2001-2004 Lanier was Visiting Scientist at Silicon Graphics and was Scholar at Large for Microsoft from 2006-2009, where he is currently Partner Architect.
Jaron Lanier is also a musician and artist. He has been active in the world of new “classical” music since the late ‘70s, and writes chamber and orchestral music. He is a pianist and a specialist in unusual musical instruments, especially the wind and string instruments of Asia. He maintains one of the largest and most varied collections of actively played instruments in the world. Current commissions include a symphony for the Bach Festival. Lanier’s paintings and drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries in the United States and Europe.
In January, 2010, Knopf published Lanier’s book You Are Not a Gadget, A Manifesto, which the New York Times described as “necessary reading for anyone interested in how the Web and the software we use every day are reshaping culture and the marketplace.” In 2010 You Are Not a Gadget, A Manifesto was chosen as one of the New York Times “Best Books of the Year.”
His writing also appears in the Discover, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Harpers Magazine, The Sciences, Wired Magazine (where he is a founding contributing editor), and Scientific American. He has appeared shows such as “The News Hour”, “Nightline” and “Charlie Rose”, and has been profiled on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
In 2009 Jaron Lanier received a Lifetime Career Award from the IEEE for contributions to Virtual Reality. He was recently named to the “Thinkers” category of the 2010 Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of people who most affect our world.