Jaron and his Manifesto

Salon: Artificial stupidity -- about Jaron Lanier's "ONE HALF OF A MANIFESTO".

I was lucky enough to see Jaron Lanier in person in 1993(94?) at the University of Victoria. I don't remember the exact reason for the visit, there must have been some sort of VR or Internet or Cybersomething going on. I missed his electronic virtual-reality music demo the night before (argh!!).

Hmm, maybe this was just after new backbone for Vancouver Island was installed which UVic was the hub for, maybe it was something to do with that and all the Internet-related cyberspace goodness it would bring to the school. I dunno.

Jaron was on stage with William Gibson, who read 45 minutes of a draft of what would become "Virtual Light", a novel I rushed out to buy in hardcover but still haven't read (sigh).

Oh, Gibson's narration was so awesome. His American accent, I still remember it clearly. I had just finished reading Neuromancer, had only been on the Internet for about 2 years, all VT100 of course via the Victoria FreeNet Association, on my Macintosh LC II 4MB/40MB with a 14.4 SupraFAXModem v.32bis external modem (that was very fast back then! My friends with 9600bps modems thought they were fast!)

If I remember correctly, and I might not, Jaron spoke about all sorts of things that evening -- VR, Cybertech, Internet, music, etc. He and Gibson talked about various things together, and the audience participated. Did I ask a question? I think so, but I can't remember what. Damn, why can't I remember these things?! It really upsets me I can't remember these things. Sigh. For some reason I think whatever I said/asked was really stupid and was hacked to bits by Jaron.

I had a picture of Jaron (I still have it somewhere), a side-profile of him with his big hair. I think the picture was from Monday magazine or the UVic student newspaper. He hung on my wall, a hero, I wanted to do what he did.

Written on October 9, 2000