- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1st Edition edition (November 21, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1627794093
- ISBN-13: 978-1627794091
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality 1st Edition Edition
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“A highly eccentric memoir that traces the author’s quest for VR back to its roots, not as some sort of geeky engineering challenge but as a feeling he had as a child of being overwhelmed by the magic of the universe.”
―The Wall Street Journal
“Evocative . . . vivid and often interesting . . . Nowadays most people with knowledge to write convincingly about cybertechnology are either industry participants or enthusiasts. So Lanier’s intelligible grievances with social media, data management, and artificial intelligence are not only insightful but also increasingly rare . . . Whether one shares Lanier’s optimism about virtual reality or his sense of proportion about artificial intelligence, one should appreciate his determination to go against current trends and discuss these issues in human terms. Silicon Valley is filled with people who either don’t care or don’t understand the consequences of their actions. Lanier reminds them (and us) that there are ghosts in the machines: fragmented, indistinct, and commodified bits of ourselves.”
“Intimate and idiosyncratic . . . quirky and fascinating . . . Lanier’s vivid and creative imagination is a distinct character in this book . . . His vision is humanistic, and he insists that the most important goal of developing virtual reality is human connection.”
―Cathy O’Neil, The New York Times Book Review
“Deeply personal . . . compelling: a poetic and humanistic view of technology . . . His style is wonderfully discursive, reflecting his wide range of interests and experiences.”
―Emily Parker, The Washington Post
“Dawn of the New Everything spirits us back to a time when a plurality of ideas about what the Internet could be were still in play . . . it pulses with kaleidoscopic insight . . . It also contains some of the more artful, numinous writing you’ll find on technology . . . Lanier offers a vision for an enhanced reality for everyone.”
―San Francisco Chronicle
“Jaron Lanier is both cheerleader and doomsayer in a highly personal story of virtual reality . . . a studied and nuanced interrogation of VR’s potential, as well as a gentle critique of what he sees as a failure of imagination when it comes to the medium’s current proponents.”
“Essential reading, not just for VR-watchers but for anyone interested in how society came to be how it is, and what it might yet become.”
“A very personal scientific autobiography . . . He emerges as an exceptional and engaging character.”
“Dawn of the New Everything is part coming-of-age chronicle . . . part swinging Silicon Valley memoir . . . and it’s stuffed with enough fantastical soothsaying to fill a Holodeck. Or at least an expansive, occasionally vaporous conversation in avatar-free meatspace.”
“Trust tech genius Lanier to use an innovative format to deliver an innovative idea. Integrating memoir, science writing, philosophical reflection, and down-to-earth advice, he reveals that virtual reality can clarify how the brain and the body connect to the world, giving us a deeper understanding of what it means to be human . . . Anyone interested in culture today will want to read Dawn of the New Everything.”
“Lanier impresses with his sincerity and insight. This culturally significant title with its compelling personal narrative proves yet again that Lanier is a thinker whose work should be read and contemplated.”
“Cleverly crafted . . . brilliant and inspiring.”
“Perhaps surprisingly for a book about the birth of virtual reality, this is a deeply human, highly personal, and beautifully told story.”
―Dave Eggers, author of The Circle
“Dawn of the New Everything covers fascinating ideas about technology and the future, but from a very personal place. It’s entirely unexpected and disarming to read about these concepts from an unabashedly subjective point of view. Reading this book inspired me to spend more time with my Vive. Not just for entertainment, but because Mr. Lanier has thoroughly convinced me that it’s the beginning of an enormous paradigm shift in the very way humans relate and communicate.”
―Joseph Gordon-Levitt, actor and director
“The author is an evangelist for the good side of VR, which now offers insights into human perception and cognition that are forcing a radical re-evaluation of who we are. That’s definitely cool stuff . . . with lots of solid tech-manual ponderings on phenotropic systems and formulas to boot. A spirited exploration of tech by a devotee who holds out the hope that bright things are just around the corner.”
About the Author
Jaron Lanier, an interdisciplinary scientist at Microsoft, either coined or popularized the term Virtual Reality. His startup VPL created the first commercial VR products, avatars, multi-person virtual world experiences, and prototypes of surgical simulation. Both his previous books, Who Owns the Future? and You Are Not a Gadget have been international bestsellers. In 2014, he was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, one of the highest cultural honors in Europe.
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Top customer reviews
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Interspersed with the 52 or so definitions of VR (some of which are just snarky, others filled with references that may be obscure for the casual reader), Lanier gives a autobiographical account of his growing up, learning to experiment with gadgets, and the general fascination of VR and mixed reality concepts. Though Lanier never expands on any of the definitions, a (very patient) reader can discern the foundational modules of VR and how they evolved - all of which told from a personal lens. One key paragraph shines a spotlight on his core inspiraton - he split the computing books into two - "nerdy" systems approach and "ecstatic, brimming with revelations" personal experience of computing. That dichotomy is self-evident throughout the book in Lanier's treatment of various topics.
Lanier traces the development of various aspects of VR starting from the Sketchpad - the hardware (particular focus on headsets), interfaces, experience designs, software. He provides some design principles for VR while exposing some interesting neuroscience concepts such as homuncular flexibility and its impact on experience. The chapters focusing on these alone is well worth the read. (The early chapters provide a very affectionate portrayal of his parents; though no direct impact for a tech enthusiast, these chapters provide a glimpse into the struggles of immigrants and dealing with anti Jew sentiments a few decades ago.)
The book is not an easy read. Various narrative devices - dialogs, reporting, and even a conversation between a present-day and past avatar of Lanier - make it difficult for a reader to follow along effortlessly. Nevertheless, this is one of the few books that is focused on "how we got here" from a personal viewpoint than cheer-leading a Utopian future or scaring with a Dystopian view. That change alone makes for a fascinating reading - a technophile will most certainly enjoy that subtle change - but one certainly misses the provocative arguments seen in his earlier books. 4.5*
Dislike: The book is somewhat disjointed, and he likes to name drop a bit much for my liking. A good editor could have helped this book out a lot, but Jaron is probably not into that.
Overall it’s definitely worth the read, though you might find yourself rolling your eyes from time to time.
His appendix on Phenotriopic Programming was especially exciting. Making programming and software development more egalitarian and accessible seems critical given that certain males dominate the field and thereby steer the ship.