Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University February 1, 2001
Publishers note on the book Eutopian Entrepeneur, MIT Press, 2001, that is the basis for the talk:
A heady hybrid of critical thinking, personal narrative, and economic analysis, Utopian Entrepreneur is a field manual for those who want to do socially positive work in the context of business. One of the few Silicon Valley veterans who participated in all four of the major computer tech bubbles games, multimedia, virtual reality, and dot-coms Brenda Laurel is known for injecting humanistic values into computer-based media.
Laurel interweaves her ideas on how to conduct socially progressive business with the saga of her experiences with the Interval Research Corporation and as the founder of the pioneering girls' software company Purple Moon.
Brenda Laurel is a designer, researcher and writer. Her work focuses on interactive narrative, human-computer interaction, and cultural aspects of technology. Her career in human-computer interaction spans over twenty years. She holds an M.F.A. and Ph.D. in theatre from the Ohio State University. Her doctoral dissertation was the first to propose a comprehensive architecture for computer-based interactive fantasy and fiction. Brenda was one of the founding Members of the research staff at Interval Research Corporation in Palo Alto, California, where she coordinated research activities exploring gender and technology, and where she co-produced and directed the Placeholder Virtual Reality project. She was also one of the founders and VP/Design of a spinoff company from Interval - Purple Moon - formed to market products based on this research. Purple Moon was acquired by Mattel in 1999. In 1990 she co-founded Telepresence Research, Inc. to develop virtual reality and remote presence technology and applications. She has worked as a software designer, producer, and researcher for companies including Atari, Activision, and Apple. Brenda has published extensively on topics including interactive fiction, computer games, autonomous agents, virtual reality, and political and artistic issues in interactive media. She is editor of the book, The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design [Addison-Wesley 1990] and author of Computers as Theatre [Addison-Wesley 1991; 2nd edition 1993], and a collection of essays entitled Severed Heads. Her complete publications and positions are listed in her resume; you may wish to read some selected recent speeches, and also enjoy some of her new writings for children. Brenda lives with her husband Rob Tow and their family at their house Locus Voci in the Santa Cruz mountains above the Silicon Valley region of the San Francisco bay area.
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