Alan N. Shapiro

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Alan N. Shapiro
Born (1956-04-23) 23 April 1956 (age 62)
NationalityUnited States
Alma materMIT
Cornell University
New York University
Known forChanged public perceptions of Star Trek, Changed public perceptions of Baudrillard
Scientific career
FieldsScience fiction studies, Media theory, Technological art, Social choreography, Artificial intelligence, Transdiciplinary design
InfluencesBaudrillard, Derrida, Virilio, Camus

Alan N. Shapiro (born 23 April 1956 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American science fiction and media theorist. He is a lecturer and essayist in the fields of science fiction studies, media theory, French philosophy, technological art, sociology of culture, social choreography, software theory, robotics, artificial intelligence, and futuristic and transdisciplinary design. Shapiro's book[1] and other published writings on Star Trek have contributed to a change in public perception about the importance of Star Trek for contemporary culture.[2][3][4] His published essays on Jean Baudrillard - especially in the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies[5][6][7][8][9] - have contributed to a change in public perception about the importance of Baudrillard's work for culture, philosophy, sociology, and design.

Shapiro has co-developed many of the core ideas of the emerging field of social choreography, contributing many essays to the field's most important journal,[10][11][12] He is a founding member of the Institute for Social Choreography in Frankfurt. He has also contributed many essays to the journal of technology and society NoemaLab — on technological art,[13] software theory,[14] Computer Science 2.0,[15] futuristic design,[16] and the political philosophy of the information society,.[17]

In 2010-2011, Shapiro lectured on "The Car of the Future" at Transmediale in Berlin, Germany,[18][19] and on robots and androids at Ars Electronica.[20][21] In September 2011, Shapiro gave a major speech at the Plektrum Festival in Tallinn, Estonia on "The Meaning of Life."[22] Since 2011, Shapiro has been keynote speaker at several conferences: "Knowledge of the Future" at the University of Vienna (2011),[23] BOBCATSSS conference on Information Management of the organization of European university libraries (2012),[24] IEEE Conference on the Information Society in London (2012), ISI International Symposium of Information Science, University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam (2013),[25] retune Creative Technology conference in Berlin (2013),[26] Alig'Art Festival on Sustainability in Cagliari (2014),[27] the conference on interactive media and utopia at Jagiellonian University, Krakow (2014),[28] and the conference on hyper-modernism at the National Center of Scientific Research, Paris (2016). In July 2012, Shapiro gave the International Flusser Lecture at the Vilém Flusser Archive, Institute for Time-Based Media, University of the Arts, Berlin.[29] In October 2016, Shapiro gave a lecture on artificial intelligence and science fiction at the BASE Cultural Center, Milan that was attended by 350 people.[30]

The 2017 Audi Annual Report features a discussion about the impact of AI on society between Shapiro, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, and David Hanson of Hanson Robotics, Hong Kong. Shapiro has also been featured as a thinker by Bertellsmann in "We Magazine",[31] by Deutsche Bank in "Economy Stories,"[32] and in the technology and fashion print magazine WU (Milan).[33]

Shapiro has been visiting professor in the Department of Film and New Media at the NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti) University of Arts and Design in Milan.[34] He has also been a lecturer at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, at the Art and Design Universities in Offenbach (where he taught creative coding and futuristic design from 2012 to 2015)[35] and Karlsruhe;[36] at the Institute of Time-Based Media at the University of the Arts, Berlin;[37] at Domus Academy of Design and Fashion in Milan;[38] and at ABADIR Design Academy in Catania.[39] From October 2015 to at least September 2017, Shapiro is currently Visiting Professor of Transdisciplinary Design in the Department of Industrial Design at the Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen.[40]

Shapiro is the editor and translator of The Technological Herbarium by Gianna Maria Gatti, a groundbreaking book about technological art.[41] He has three contributions to the innovative book on social choreography Framemakers: Choreography as an Aesthetics of Change[42] edited by Jeffrey Gormly. His book Software of the Future: The Model Precedes the Real was published in German by the Walther König Verlag in 2014.[43] His edited book Transdisciplinary Design will be published by the Passagen Verlag in early 2017.

Shapiro is also a software developer, with nearly 20 years industry experience in C++ and Java development. He has worked on several projects for Volkswagen, Deutsche Bahn (DB Systel), and media and telecommunications companies.

Shapiro was accepted at age 15 as an undergraduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He studied at MIT for 2 years. He received his B.A. from Cornell University, where he studied government and European Intellectual History. He has an M.A. in sociology from New York University (NYU). In a 10-page review-essay of his book Star Trek: Technologies of Disappearance, the journal Science Fiction Studies called his book one of the most original works in the field of science fiction theory.[44] See also the extensive discussions of Star Trek: Technologies of Disappearance in Csicsery-Ronay's major reference work on science fiction studies,[45] in The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction[46] and in The Yearbook of English Studies.[47]

Shapiro has lived most of his life in the United States, but also 28 years in Europe (23 of them in Germany).


  1. ^ Shapiro, Alan N. (2004). Star Trek: Technologies of Disappearance. Berlin: AVINUS Press. ISBN 3-930064-16-2.
  2. ^ Alan Shapiro, Captain Kirk Was Never the Original, CTHEORY (June 1997)
  3. ^ Alan Shapiro, The Star Trekking of Physics, CTHEORY (October 1997)
  4. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Data as Sherlock Holmes: Ship in a Bottle Archived 2012-09-09 at, Red Room (June 2010)
  5. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Re-Discovering Baudreality in America, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (January 2009)
  6. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Baudrillard and Trek-nology (Or Everything I Know I Learned From Watching Star Trek and Reading Jean Baudrillard), International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (July 2005)
  7. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Cultural Citizenship In Contemporary America, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (January 2010)
  8. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Jean Baudrillard and Albert Camus on the Simulacrum of Taking a Stance on War, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (May 2014)
  9. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Baudrillard and Existentialism: Taking the Side of Objects, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (July 2016)
  10. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Dear Grace (Patterns Are Everywhere Remix, (March 2009)
  11. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Social Choreography: Steve Valk and the Situationists, (July 2010)
  12. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Play Don't Work in a Pragmatic-Utopian High-Tech Enterprise, (December 2009)
  13. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Gianna Maria Gatti's The Technological Herbarium, (February 2009)
  14. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Society of the Instance, (2001)
  15. ^ Alan N. Shapiro and Bernhard Angerer, The Paradigm of Object Spaces: Better Software is Coming, (Feb 2013)
  16. ^ Alan N. Shapiro and Alan Cholodenko, The Car of the Future, (July 2009)
  17. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Political Philosophy of the Information Society, (September 2012)
  18. ^ video of Car of the Future talk, part 1
  19. ^ video of Car of the Future talk, part 2
  20. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Towards a Unified Existential Science of Humans and Androids, (November 2010)
  21. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, An Interdisciplinary Approach to Building Robots
  22. ^ "Alan N. Shapiro, What is the Meaning of Life?". Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2011-09-23.
  23. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Anticipating the Future Through Knowledge of the Fiction in Social Reality
  24. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, The Future of Social Media
  25. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Semantic Information Science
  26. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Software Code as Hybrid of Productive and Creative
  27. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Sustainability in Art, Ecology and Economics
  28. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Storytelling and Ideas in the Age of Computer-Intensive Media Products
  29. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Software Studies as Extension of Media Theory
  30. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Riporgettare L'umano
  31. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Rethinking Science
  32. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Hybrid Thinking
  33. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Intervista
  34. ^ Alan Shapiro spiega Star Trek
  35. ^ Senior Lecturer, Offenbach Art and Design University
  36. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Computer Games and Transmedia
  37. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Software Beyond Software
  38. ^ Domus Academy Masters in Interaction Design
  39. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Creative Coding
  40. ^ Visiting Professor of Transdisciplinary Design, Folkwang University of the Arts
  41. ^ Gatti, Gianna Maria (2010). The Technological Herbarium. Berlin: AVINUS Press. ISBN 3-86938-012-8.
  42. ^ Gormly, Jeffrey (2008). Framemakers: Choreography as an Aesthetics of Change. Limerick: Daghdha Dance Company. ISBN 0-9558585-1-8.
  43. ^ Alan N. Shapiro, Die Software der Zukunft: oder Das Modell geht der Realität voraus
  44. ^ Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr., Escaping Star Trek, Science Fiction Studies (November 2005).
  45. ^ Csicsery-Ronay, Istvan, Jr., The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2008), 136-138
  46. ^ Mark Bould, Andrew M. Butler, Adam Roberts, and Sherryl Vint, eds., The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction (Routledge Literature Companions) (New York: Routledge, 2009), 228-234 passim, 370-372,
  47. ^ Bould, Mark, "On the boundary between oneself and the other: aliens and language in the films AVP, Dark City, The Brother from Another Planet, and Possible Worlds", The Yearbook of English Studies (July 2007).

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