is an extraordinary individual. He is the father of virtual reality, a forceful pundit for "software humanism," an accomplished musician, a philosopher, and
a Microsoft Partner Architect working on cloud computing problems in the Extreme Computing group. For three years, Jaron was a Scholar at Large, providing valuable technical input to the Live Labs folks. And he was also a technical consultant for the wildly
popular science fiction film, Minority Report
(which, of course, contained a heavy dose of virtual reality).
Jaron has strong opinions on a variety of topics related to software and its fundamental purpose of benefiting humanity (we often forget that software is for
, first and foremost). Also, he is probably one of the harshest critics of Web 2.0 and the current state of the Internet. One of the great things about Jaron is that he doesn't merely criticize and rant; rather, in his critiques he offers well-thought-out
solutions to very complicated problems. This is a very admirable trait.
Jaron was in town a few days ago, and I had the privilege of chatting with him about a variety of interesting topics, including his interest in virtual reality, his ideas on "post symbolic communication," software development futures for large scale programming (Jaron's
ideas on what he calls phenotropic programming
are mind blowing), mathematics in the universe, lack of privacy on the Internet, the problem with Google and Facebook, music, his new book,
You Are Not a Gadget
, and more. This is a great conversation with a true iconoclast. We will have Jaron on C9 again. There is much more to talk