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‘Father of Virtual Reality’ Lanier to speak, sign new book during free event Wednesday at NIU

April 23, 2013

JaronLanierPosterJaron Lanier – the bestselling author of “You Are Not a Gadget,” the father of virtual reality, and one of Time Magazine’s most influential thinkers of our time – will be the keynote for NIU’s Celebrating Excellence event.

The event begins at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, at the Holmes Student Center’s Duke Ellington Ballroom. Lanier will sign his new, soon-to-be released book following the presentation in the Capitol Room.

Wednesday’s event is free and open to the public.

For decades, Lanier has drawn on his expertise and experience as a computer scientist, musician and digital media pioneer to predict the revolutionary ways in which technology has transformed our culture.

Lanier’s new bookWho Owns the Future?” – is not yet available in the United States and is scheduled for release Tuesday, May 7.

A limited number of pre-release copies of “Who Owns the Future?will be available for purchase in the Capitol Room before and after the keynote from the HSC University Bookstore. The bookstore has copies of “You Are Not a Gadgetavailable for purchase as well.

Who Owns the Future? is a visionary reckoning with the effects network technologies have had on our economy.

Lanier asserts that the rise of digital networks led the U.S. economy into recession and decimated the middle class. Now, as technology flattens more and more industries from media to medicine to manufacturing there are even greater challenges to employment and personal wealth.

But there is an alternative to allowing technology to own our future. In this ambitious and deeply humane book, Lanier charts the path toward a new information economy that will stabilize the middle class and allow it to grow.

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 has been named one of top one hundred public intellectuals in the world by Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines, and one of history’s 300 or so greatest inventors in the Encyclopedia Britannica. In 2009, he received a Lifetime Career Award from the IEEE, the preeminent international engineering society.

Lanier’s writing appears in the Discover, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Harpers Magazine, Atlantic, Wired Magazine (where he was a founding contributing editor) and Scientific American. He has appeared on TV shows such as PBS NewsHour, Nightline and Charlie Rose, and has been profiled multiple times on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

A musician and artist, Lanier has been active in the world of new “classical” music since the late 1970s and writes chamber and orchestral works. He is a pianist and a specialist in unusual and historical musical instruments, maintaining one of the largest and most varied collections of actively played instruments in the world.

Recent works include a symphony with full choral settings of William Shakespeare’s friend Amelia Lanier, commissioned for the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. He has performed with a wide range of musicians, including Philip Glass, Yoko Ono, Ornette Coleman, George Clinton and Steve Reich.

He also 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.

For more information, call (815) 753-8154 or email [email protected].

Celebrating Excellence logoThis event is part of Celebrating Excellence at NIU, scheduled from Sunday, April 14, through Sunday, April 28. Celebrating Excellence highlights the accomplishments and contributions of NIU students, faculty, staff and alumni to the university’s mission of promoting excellence and engagement in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, creativity and artistry, and outreach and service during the academic year.