Interaction Design Program


Paul Pangaro

Chair of MFA Interaction Design

Ph.D., Brunel University, B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Paul Pangaro’s career spans research, consulting, startups, and education. He relocated to Detroit in April 2015 to become Associate Professor & Chair of the MFA Interaction Design at CCS.

Pangaro 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.

His most recent startup is General Cybernetics, Inc., which he founded to pioneer digital interfaces for “conversations with content.” He worked with and within startups in New York and Silicon Valley, in product and technology roles. In Pasadena he was founding chief technology officer for at Bill Gross’s Idealab. He was senior director and distinguished market strategist at Sun Microsystems.

His consulting clients include Nokia, Samsung, Intellectual Ventures,, Instituto Itaú Cultural (São Paulo), Ogilvy & Mather, and Poetry Foundation. His writing explicates “designing for conversation” from his research and his implementations of software and organizational processes. He has published in ACM’s Interactions Magazine, Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing, Cybernetics & Human Knowing, International Journal of General Systems, Journal Kybernetes, edition echoraum, London Guardian Newspaper, Systems Research Journal, and Macmillan Encyclopedia of Computers. He has lectured in São Paulo, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Linz, and in cities in the US.

Pangaro was awarded a Bachelor of Science in humanities and computer science, with a minor in drama, from MIT, where he made award-winning computer-generated films and wrote a thesis in film criticism. He received the MIT Stewart Award for his undergraduate contributions to the MIT Drama Program. He was hired by Nicholas Negroponte onto the research staff of the MIT Architecture Machine Group, which morphed into the MIT Media Lab. With Gordon Pask as his advisor, he was awarded a Ph.D. in cybernetics from Brunel University in the UK, where his thesis focused on the development of conversation theory software.   

Pangaro is former Chair of Trustees and Fellow, American Society for Cybernetics, and received its Warren McCulloch Award in 2014. He has previously served on the board of Artship San Francisco and (UK).