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Paul Pangaro Ph.D.



Artificial Intelligence

Interaction Design

Design Thinking

I believe the goal of interaction design is to create conditions where every person can be who they want to be — or want to become. This means that every design process begins with human values and human goals; choosing technologies and formulating solutions then follows. The highest achievement of design is to enable deep conversations for others to collaborate effectively toward their own, emerging, and shared goals.

My work is focused on the central role of conversation in the process of designing. Today’s design challenges cannot be solved by individuals, and therefore understanding and facilitating collaboration across teams is central to effective design outcomes. I call this “design as conversation.” Furthermore, if designers are to minimize imposing their values and decisions on their users, the most ethical design outcomes are those which enable others to design for themselves, that is, to collaborate on exploring and choosing their own design outcomes. I call this “design for conversation.”

I hold a B.S. degree in Humanities / Computer Science from MIT and a Ph.D.  in Cybernetics from Brunel University (UK). My career began by founding a startup for implementing training and decision-support systems using AI workstations under contract to the US and UK government. For a range of enterprises large and small I have been an organizational consultant developing innovation practices; chief technology officer and member of the product team; and future-caster, projecting technology possibilities in the context of unchanging human needs.

Areas of expertise:

- Interaction design, product design, service design

- Conversation theory and “design for conversation”

- Future-casting, imagining future markets, prototype planning and construction

- Design methodologies

- Innovation models and practices



Paul Pangaro’s career spans research, consulting, startups, and education. He relocated to Detroit in 2015 to become Chair of the MFA Interaction Design at the College for Creative Studies.


His most recent startup is General Cybernetics, dedicated to new ways of reading and writing in digital media based on Gordon Pask’s Conversation Theory.


He has worked with and within startups in New York and Silicon Valley, in product and technology roles.


His consulting clients include Du Pont, Nokia, Samsung, Instituto Itaú Cultural (São Paulo), Ogilvy & Mather, Intellectual Ventures, and


He has lectured in São Paulo, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Linz, Graz, and in cities in the US. His writing explicates “designing for conversation” from his research and his implementations of software and organizational processes.


He has taught systems and cybernetics for design at School for Visual Arts, New York, and at Stanford University in Terry Winograd’s Human-Computer Interface program.


He was awarded a B.S. in Humanities / Computer Science from MIT and was hired by Nicholas Negroponte onto the research staff of the MIT Architecture Machine Group, which morphed into the MIT Media Lab. He left the MIT Ph.D. program in order to complete a Ph.D. in cybernetics with Gordon Pask at Brunel University.

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