Jaron Lanier coined the term “virtual reality” in 1986 and was (is) one of the leading inventors of VR technology. Originally a strong proponent of technology and its benefits he now worries about the future of human culture more than the gadgets.
Lanier is also a an artist and musician of note and the PDF article below is an interview about what he calls ‘cybernetic totalism’ and the effects of technology on and in society. In his writings you can pick up a definite sense of an understanding of the spiritual nature of technology as well as its economic and social effect.
Out in the wider world, though, there’s a rebellion brewing precisely as a result of the sort of wild pronouncements about technology you see more and more often in press releases from places like MIT and Berkeley. There has long been a sense of economic injustice, but thereâ€™s a brewing sense of spiritual injustice. There’s this sense that it’s one thing if rich people in America drive fancy cars and have lower infant mortality, but this notion that some elite somewhere is defining the soul or making the soul into an obsolete idea or is going to transform what it means to be human or is going to be first in line for immortality – that idea strikes so deep it creates a sense of panic. And I believe this is the explanation for one of the weird features of our time, that every major religion has a terribly violent fundamentalist wing at the same time.
The PDF is available here: What Keeps Jaron Lanier Awake at Night?