Molly Wright Steenson
Molly Wright Steenson is an associate professor in the Carnegie Mellon School of Design. She researches the history of design, architecture, computation and artificial intelligence from the 1950s to the present, and is completing a book titled Architectures of Interactivity that explores these linkages, with a focus on the practices of Nicholas Negroponte, Cedric Price, Christopher Alexander, and Richard Saul Wurman.  Molly began working with the Web in 1995 at a wide variety of companies including Reuters, Scient, Netscape, and Razorfish. She cofounded Maxi, an award-winning women’s webzine, in the 90s. As a design researcher, she examines the effect of personal technology on its users, including projects in India and China for Microsoft Research and ReD Associates/Intel Research. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Architecture from Princeton, a Master’s in Environmental Design from the Yale School of Architecture and a B.A. in German from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

These Important Years

Architecture and design have much to teach us in an increasingly sentient and intelligent world. As it turns out, we've been learning those lessons for a long time. In this talk, Molly Wright Steenson looks back to look forward—to the origins of artificial intelligence and cybernetics and its collaborations with designers and architects starting in the 1950s, and the ways that those projects illuminated our ideas about interactivity today.

This nexus of technology, architecture, and design has captivated Molly for over a decade and is the subject of her forthcoming book Architectural Intelligence: How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape (MIT Press). A Minneapolis native who used to live across Loring Park from the Walker Art Center, she is proudly copping the title of this talk from one of her favorite Hüsker Dü songs.