A tech futurist, researcher and writer, he is well placed to act as guide to the world described in Dawn of the New Everything ... Compared to today’s social media — which Lanier, no fan, sees as sterile and Pavlovian — VR would be a place to truly encounter others, stripped of the limitations of the everyday persona ... Lanier, however, is an engaging guide, and readers will find themselves wishing that he is right. A lot of the charm of this highly personal account turns on his description of a childhood that reads like something out of a magical realist novel ... Lanier is at his most impassioned here when reprising his earlier arguments, while also making space to warn about the AI that he sees as a natural product of today’s hubristic Silicon Valley.
Virtual reality, or VR, is the 'stage magic' of technology, observes Jaron Lanier in his new professional memoir, Dawn of the New Everything — the multiplication of technical effects to transport the beholder from the everyday to a simulacrum of another reality ...spirits us back to a time when a plurality of ideas about what the Internet could be were still in play. Thus, it traces the provenance of the organizing principles of the Web we live with today ...an account of the making of a digital humanist ... Baggy, unkempt and idiosyncratic as its author, it pulses with kaleidoscopic insight, recondite science and deeply felt opinions — a rejoinder to singularity-struck 'digital supremacist[s]' ... By limning his own history in virtual reality, Lanier offers a vision for an enhanced reality for everyone.
This is a disjointed and melancholy book, with a beautiful idea at the core. Lanier proposes that VR, the technology of the unreal, refreshes our love for the world as it is … The best way to think about VR, Lanier writes, is as the removal of a single human-shaped mass from the fabric of the universe. To build a VR universe, then, you mentally excise a single person from her surroundings; the surroundings stay the same … The notion that VR could incite a ferocious love for the ‘infinite detail’ of the physical world that it imitates felt, by the time I finished these books, almost painfully elegiac. What physical world, which version?