Gray Area Festival 2019
Gray Area Festival is San Francisco’s premier annual festival advancing culture and common good through the lens of art and technology.
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 books have won varied awards, including the 2014 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, one of the highest literary honors in the world, Harvard’s Goldsmith Book Prize, and best book of the year at book festivals such as the San Francisco Book Festival. 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 originating VR applications for medicine, design, and numerous other fields. He is currently the “octopus” (which stands for Office of the Chief Technology Officer Prime Unifying Scientist) at Microsoft. He was a founder or principal of startups that were acquired by Google, Adobe, Oracle, and Pfizer.
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; he maintains one of the largest and most varied collections of actively played instruments in the world. Works include a choral symphony about William Shakespeare’s contemporary and friend Amelia Lanier, commissioned for the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park a symphony commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and a symphonic cycle commissioned by the city of Wrocław, Poland. He has performed or recorded with a wide range of musicians, including Philip Glass, Yoko Ono, Ornette Coleman, George Clinton, T Bone Burnett, Steve Reich, and Sara Bareilles.