Artful Design

Filmed on February 21, 2019 in San Francisco

What does it mean to design well? To design ethically? How might the things we engineer reflect our human values? In a world shaped by technology, these may be the most difficult and ongoing questions facing every engineer, builder, designer. To address them, the way we think about design may need to fundamentally evolve. Drawing from Ge Wang's new book ARTFUL DESIGN, and using music technology as a vehicle, we will examine everyday examples of design: programming languages, toy-like mobile apps like Ocarina, instruments for laptop orchestra, and social technologies. Through these, we will consider how and why, more than addressing our practical needs, technology could and should be beautiful, humanistic, and socially meaningful.

Ge Wang is an Associate Professor at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He researches artful design of tools, toys, games and social experiences. Ge 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. He is a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow and the author of ARTFUL DESIGN: TECHNOLOGY IN SEARCH OF THE SUBLIME, a photo comic book about the ethics and craft of shaping technology. Based on the book, Ge is currently teaching a new critical thinking course at Stanford, "Design that Understands Us."

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Ge Wang
Associate Professor at Stanford

What does it mean to design well? To design ethically? How might the things we engineer reflect our human values? In a world shaped by technology, these may be the most difficult and ongoing questions facing every engineer, builder, designer. To address them, the way we think about design may need to fundamentally evolve. Drawing from Ge Wang's new book ARTFUL DESIGN, and using music technology as a vehicle, we will examine everyday examples of design: programming languages, toy-like mobile apps like Ocarina, instruments for laptop orchestra, and social technologies. Through these, we will consider how and why, more than addressing our practical needs, technology could and should be beautiful, humanistic, and socially meaningful.

Ge Wang is an Associate Professor at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He researches artful design of tools, toys, games and social experiences. Ge 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. He is a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow and the author of ARTFUL DESIGN: TECHNOLOGY IN SEARCH OF THE SUBLIME, a photo comic book about the ethics and craft of shaping technology. Based on the book, Ge is currently teaching a new critical thinking course at Stanford, "Design that Understands Us."