Thinking Like a Good Ancestor: Finding meaning in the technology we build

August 3, 2017 | 3:13 pm

Thinking Like a Good Ancestor: Finding Meaning in the Technology We Build, a new course taught by Cooper co-founder Alan Cooper with support from YouTube user experience researcher Renato Verdugo, offers an opportunity to consider the long-term impact, including social and ethical implications, of new designs and technologies.

About the course:

In the high-speed disruption culture incubated by Silicon Valley companies and startups, the scope of what we look at is generally the short-term reception of our developments by our users, and not the long-term shifts that will derive from them. Meanwhile, the pace of social change, driven by technical innovation, has accelerated to the point where each one of us has essentially become our own ancestor: we each become victims and beneficiaries of the inventions we create.

Through the new concept of Ancestry Thinking, this course will propose ideas to broaden our understanding of the technological ecosystem we live in. Throughout the semester, students will discuss ways to internalize what would otherwise remain as externalities or byproducts of tech developments, hearing from guest speakers from leading technology companies and organizations along the way. The course aims to enable future technology practitioners to build holistic narratives around their developments, building a concept of “thinking like a good ancestor” into design and technology development processes. View the course syllabus here.

About the instructor:

Alan Cooper is widely known for his role in humanizing technology through his groundbreaking work in software design. Alan is the author of the books About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design (editions 1-4) and The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High-Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity. As co-founder of interaction design consultancy Cooper, he created the goal-directed design methodology and invented personas as practical interaction design tools to create high-tech products that delight users’ sensibilities. Widely recognized as the “Father of Visual Basic,” he is a Computer History Museum Fellow and received the first of only seven Windows Pioneer awards from Bill Gates. 

Also helping to facilitate the course will be Renato Verdugo, user experience researcher at YouTube. Renato holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.


DES INV 190-9: Thinking Like a Good Ancestor: Finding Meaning in the Technology We Build

Alan Cooper | 2 Units | Fridays, 10am-12pm

Class number: 67222

This course is aimed at advanced undergraduate students and master’s students. Students should have prior knowledge of design thinking/practice, including industry experience.

The course can be taken for a grade or on a Pass/No Pass basis. Please note that the course does not count toward the Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation.