September 7, 2018
This has been kind of a short week for me, partly due to spending most of Monday traveling and the rest due to just not getting a whole lot done. But, a weekly post schedule isn’t a schedule if I don’t post weekly, so here goes.
I’ve been doing a decent job of sticking to the scheduling thing I talked about last week, even with less stuff being done over the last few days. A lot of what I worked on (not blog content) is pretty clearly listed there, so it’s somewhat comforting to be able to look back and go “oh yeah, I did that this week.”
Jaron Lanier and Philosophical Tech
The Mondo 2000 blog had a post about Jaron Lanier recently. I’d totally forgotten about the guy, so after reading through it I took a look at his site and his more recent work. Turns out he’s put out a few books of the last few years, all of which I now want to read.
For those of you unfamiliar, Lanier was an early VR pioneer in the 80’s and one of the co-founders of VPL Research. He’s also very much part of a generation of tech enthusiasts that I feel is quickly disappearing. With the promise of exciting new frontiers to explore with things like virtual reality and the internet, a lot of developers at the time were incredibly optimistic about the future of technology, interactivity, and communication. It’s an optimism that is sorely lacking today, for a slew of reasons not worth going into right without this post turning into some sort of rant. (That’ll come later.)
Having already had that rant running in my head on repeat for some time now, it was a pretty nice surprise to see that in his most recent talks Lanier still has that optimism and enthusiasm for the future of technology. A lot of his philosophy gets into utilization of virtual reality as a way of enhancing the human experience. A point made in his most recent books is that VR can function as a sort of mental palate cleanser. Life in general can get pretty mundane at times, and a lot of small details in reality are commonplace and therefore glossed over mentally. But if you spend some time in a virtual environment, long enough for your brain to trick itself into (mostly) believing the simulated world presented to you, when you come out reality can feel fresh and new again. And I like that idea.
He talks a lot as well about separation of consciousness from the body and some more metaphysical(?) subjects related to existence and utilizing technology as an expansion of the mind and of understanding. If that sounds like something you’d dig, you can grab his latest book on Amazon right now
I was gonna post a gif here, but I goofed and didn’t animate what I was working on correctly. This is what I get for trying to preemptively block out blog posts with titles.
Recommended Viewing: “Sorry To Bother You”
I really don’t want to say too much about this movie, other than I really, really liked it. If it’s playing in a theater near you, go see it.