Molly Wright Steenson is a designer, author, professor, and international speaker whose work focuses on the intersection of design, architecture, and artificial intelligence. She is the K&L Gates Career Development Professor in Ethics and Computational Technologies at Carnegie Mellon University and an associate professor in CMU’s School of Design. Steenson is the author of Architectural Intelligence: How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape (MIT Press, 2017), which tells the radical history of AI’s impact on design and architecture, and the forthcoming book Bauhaus Futures (MIT Press, expected 2019), co-edited with Laura Forlano & Mike Ananny. A web pioneer since 1994, she’s worked at groundbreaking design studios, consultancies, and Fortune 500 companies. She holds a PhD in Architecture from Princeton University, a Master’s in Environmental Design (architectural history) from Yale School of Architecture, and a BA in German from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with honors and distinction.
From 2013–15, Molly was an assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught data visualization, digital studies, and communications courses, and led Mellon-funded research projects in the digital humanities. She was a professor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Ivrea, Italy in 2003–04, where she led the Connected Communities research group, and an adjunct professor at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in the Media Design Practices Program from 2010–12.
She has worked with 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.