Vita: Jaron Lanier

Jaron Lanier

A Renaissance Man for the 21st century, Jaron Lanier is a comput­er scientist, composer, 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. Lanier’s most recent book is Who Owns the Future? He offers a critical and insightful perspective in his talks on big data: who owns the data, what it all means for our society, and the quest for a sustainable digital economy. Lanier looks at the large patterns shaping digital world, such as the 2008 financial crisis, NSA surveillance, and the implementation of Who Owns the Future? remains an international bestseller, and was declared the most important book of 2013 by Joe Nocera in The New York Times and was on the Amazon 2013 Best Books of the Year list. It has also been awarded several prizes such as the Harvard’s 2014 Goldsmith Book Prize Jaron Lanier has been on the cusp of technological innovation from its infancy to the present. A pioneer in virtual reality (a term he coined), Lanier founded VPL Research, the first company to sell VR products, and led teams creating VR applications for medicine, design, and numerous other fields. He is currently Interdisciplinary Scientist at Microsoft Research. He was a founder or principal of startups that were acquired by Google, Adobe, Oracle, and Pfizer. In 2010, Lanier was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. In recent years he has also been named one of top one hundred public intellectuals in the world by Foreign Policy magazine, one of the top 50 World Thinkers by Prospect magazine, and one of history’s 300 or so greatest inventors in the Encyclopedia Britannica Lanier’s writing appears in Discover, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Harpers Maga­zine, Atlantic, Wired Magazine, and Scientific American. He has appeared on TV shows such as PBS NewsHour, The Colbert Report, Nightline and Charlie Rose, and has been profiled on the front pages of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times multiple times.


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 works. He is a pianist and a specialist in unusual and historical musical instruments, and maintains one of the largest and most varied collections of actively played instruments in the world. He has performed with a wide range of musicians, including Philip Glass, Yoko Ono, Ornette Coleman, George Clinton, and Steve Reich. He composes and performs frequently on film soundtracks. Credits include composer on Sean Penn’s 2010 documentary, The Third Wave, and principle instrumental performer for Richard Horowitz’s score for Three Seasons (1999), which won both the Audience and Grand Jury awards at Sundance. Lanier’s paintings and drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries in the United States and Europe.

Young woman meets Robot

Digital responsibility

Experts discuss about chances and risks of digitization.