Dawn of the New Everything | Jaron Lanier

Summary of: Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality
By: Jaron Lanier


Get ready to unravel the world of virtual reality (VR) with Jaron Lanier’s ‘Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality’. A pioneer in the field, Lanier shares his experiences and expertise, combining technology, philosophy, and science to present the mesmerizing journey of VR. Discover the immersive experiences, the concept of avatars, and the potential of haptics. Learn how VR has evolved into a powerful tool, capable of transforming various sectors like surgical training, city planning, and car manufacturing. This insightful book exposes both the potential beauty and dangers of VR, pushing the boundaries of our understanding and urging us to stay human-centred in our relation to technology.

The Evolution of VR

In “The Dawn of the New Everything,” Jaron Lanier details the history of virtual reality, from the earliest commercial products to the present day. As a scientist, musician, and writer, Lanier is uniquely positioned to provide a comprehensive look at this technological breakthrough. He argues that VR has the potential to transform human endeavor in countless ways, but also warns of the risks and dangers presented by this new frontier. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of technology and its impact on human society.

Virtual Reality Unveiled

In the 1980s, the term “virtual reality” was coined by Lanier, referring to a computer-user interface that blends social and bodily aspects. VR is considered as a frontier in science, philosophy, and technology. It combines cinema, jazz, and programming to create a wholly immersive experience. A headset and data glove simulate a person’s sensory and motor organs while tracking movements in real-time. With this interface, users enter a new world where they can interact with avatars and feel objects via sensory inputs. Welcome to the world of virtual reality.

Jaron Lanier’s Illusion

In spite of a Silicon Valley bursting with visionaries during the 1980s, Jaron Lanier moved to Palo Alto in search of like-minded people. He became disillusioned with emerging investment-seeking yuppies, choosing instead to create video games and designing popular ones such as Moondust. However, Lanier despised how the industry produced lab rat-like players, making his idea of accommodating people’s reality through technology impossible to realize. Therefore, he concluded, through unreliable idealism, that acknowledging illusions’ borders as an excellent citizenship trait was necessary.

The Power of Haptics

Virtual reality (VR) allows users to “become” something and teaches how the brain relates to the body. Active haptics, through force feedback, create an environment against which the body pushes and pulls. This has been successful in specialized uses like surgery simulators. However, VR can also be used for beautiful art or terrible spying. The meaning of VR is set by us and it has the potential to aid with pain management. Overall, haptics describe someone in the world, not just as an observer.

The past and future of Virtual Reality

Traveling to a new digital world has never been easier with Virtual Reality (VR) devices. As early as the 1980s, people were already amazed by the experience of exploring a new world. VR makes use of sensors to track movements in the virtual space, allowing the brain to fill in gaps and create an illusion that one is in another world. Users become avatars in the VR space, and with basic forms, the brain can impose biological motion. This interactivity is what makes VR valuable and demonstrates future possibilities of humans interacting and transforming digital realms with sensorimotor loops.

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