Mel Slater's Presence Blog

Thoughts about research and radical new applications of virtual reality - a place to write freely without the constraints of academic publishing,and have some fun.

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I still find immersive virtual reality as thrilling now as when I first tried it 20 years ago.

12 November, 2017

In the Presence of Jaron Lanier

In the Presence of Jaron Lanier

The talk by Jaron Lanier Friday 11th November 2017 at UCL was attended by about 150 people. Jaron talked about themes from his new book Dawn of the New Everything: A Journey Through Virtual Reality. It is best to read the book of course, but here I will simply say that he introduced the Thesis - that virtual reality offers a fantastic way for the construction of new shared realities, where we can experience each others' dreams. He also introduced the Antithesis that VR offers a perfect means for behavioural modification - since it can act as a 'Skinner box' where a person's environment is completely controlled, and based on feedback in response to their actions and choices algorithms can move them surreptitiously towards new states of mind. The Synthesis ....

Introducing Jaron Lanier

Start of the talk

The talk was very inspiring and, judging by the questions, and the comments afterwards, was very much appreciated and enjoyed.

Here I want to say that it provided the opportunity for previous members of my group, now friends, to get together even if briefly, and renew old ties, and perhaps plan a future gathering. In the pictures below all but Zillah Watson, Aiden O'Neill (and Jaron Lanier) were in the Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics group at UCL at some time. I have indicated those that were postdocs, and PhD students by the year that they obtained their PhD.

Left to right: Daniela Romano (ex postdoc), Vinoba Vinayagamoorthy (2006), Joel Jordan (2010), Marco Gillies (ex postdoc)

Vinoba with Joel

Lee Pip Bull (2006) with Vinoba

Left to right: Zillah Watson, Anthony Steed (1996),
Aiden O'Neill (Penguin Books), Jaron Lanier, 
Mel Slater, Sylvia Xueni Pan (2010 and postdoc)


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