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

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Apr 17—May 22
Time: 5:00—6:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 19
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $385
Instructor(s): Ge Wang
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Cancelled
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
5:00—6:50 pm (PT)
Apr 17—May 22
6 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 19
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 deficit-based 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 Ocarina for the iPhone), laws (yes, they can and should be artfully designed, too), and AI systems with humans in the loop. We will examine how people design these and how they in turn shape us as individuals and societies. 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 a better future.

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. He received a PhD in computer science from Princeton.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Ge Wang, Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime, 1st Edition (ISBN 978-1503600522)