fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Fall Quarter

Fall Quarter Underway
Late-Start Classes
Still Available
shopping cart icon0


« Back to Liberal Arts & Sciences

DSN 100 — Artful Design: How We Shape Technology and How Technology Shapes Us

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Oct 14—Nov 18
Time: 5:00—6:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Oct 16
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $360
Instructor(s): Ge Wang
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
5:00—6:50 pm (PT)
Oct 14—Nov 18
6 weeks
Refund Date
Oct 16
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Ge Wang
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
At this point in history...our lives and freedom depend largely upon the skill and imagination and courage of our managers and engineers.—Kurt Vonnegut

Why do we shape technology? What does it mean to do it well, to do it artfully and ethically? How might we fashion tools that lead to richer and more meaningful forms of life? In this course, we will unpack the role of design in human life and consider artful design as a multidisciplinary fusion of engineering, philosophy, ethics, and art. Its underlying ethos: rather than relying on a deficits model in which we figure out what is missing and design to fill that need, we aim to fashion tools that help us flourish, and flourish together. Students will engage with lectures, readings, and case studies that break down the craft and philosophies of artful (as well as not-so-artful) design of tools (from smartphones to programming languages), toys and games (from video games to virtual reality), social media, musical instruments (such as a flute-like app for the iPhone), laws (yes, they can be artfully designed too), and AI systems with humans in the loop. We will examine how we design these things and how they in turn shape our society and ourselves. Students will learn to more clearly and critically view our technology-drenched human world—and to exercise their ethical and artful imagination in search of better versions of itself.

Associate Professor of Music and, by courtesy, of Computer Science, Stanford

Ge Wang is the architect of the ChucK music programming language, director of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra, co-founder of Smule, and designer of the Ocarina and Magic Piano apps for mobile phones. A 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, Wang is the author of Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Ge Wang, Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime (ISBN 9781503600522)