In Defense of Architecting

What is it with the word “architecting?” Ask architects what they do, and they will say that they design. Ask UX designers about the work of designing a system, and they often call it “architecting.” It’s a word that makes architects cringe, but that UX designers embrace: architecting is the practice of making complex things simpler and more straightforward. In this talk, I will trace the tensions around architecting through the work of architects like Christopher Alexander, Richard Saul Wurman, and Nicholas Negroponte, and the ways that their collaborations with cybernetics, cognitive science and artificial intelligence brought systems architecture to bear in ways that seem very familiar today.

In the word “architecting,” I’ll trace the deep history of UX design, one that unites architects and artificial intelligence, and that goes back some 50 years.

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