Phew. I just finished the final draft for HTSM, or “How To Speak Machine,” so it looks like it’ll get published by the end of this year.

I’ve been working on this book since 2015 — it’s the one I refer to over here on Twitter:

The content changed as it evolved — it became less about design and more about computation. Lots is happening in AI today, and I find that most people don’t understand the underlying computer science. So “How To Speak Machine” attempts to explain the world of computation in ways that I’ve been using over the past few decades, but I never knew how to structure those ideas until now.

It builds upon my 1999 book, Design By Numbers, which was a system by which computer programming could be taught to artists and designers. I carried these ideas forward in 2005 with a 1-human art show in Paris at the Cartier Foundation, entitled Nature. And then in 2015 when I launched the Design in Tech Report at SXSW while resident in Silicon Valley I started to put more pieces together.

In the following year of 2016, I came back to the world of computation by realizing there were three kinds of design at play:

There are three kinds of design:: Classical Design, Design Thinking, and Computational Design.

Classical design there’s a right way to make what is perfect, crafted, and complete. Driver/ the Industrial Revolution, and prior to that at least a few millennia of ferment.

Design thinking because execution has outpaced innovation, and experience matters. Driver/ the need to innovate in relation to individual customer needs requires empathy.

Computational design designing for billions of people and in realtime, is at scale and TBD. Driver/ the impact of Moore’s Law, mobile computing, and the latest tech paradigms.


Over the last few years, many folks have asked me what “computational design” means — which made me think I needed to explain computation in a plain-speak sort of way. Thus “How To Speak Machine” was born. If you sign up for my monthly briefing, you’ll be one of the first to know when the book finally comes out — thanks for being curious about the path to speaking machine! —JM

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