Aza Raskin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Aza Raskin
Aza Raskin in 2019
Born (1984-02-01) February 1, 1984 (age 37)
EducationMathematics, Physics B.S. (University of Chicago)
Occupationinterface designer, entrepreneur, writer
Parent(s)Jef Raskin, Linda S. Blum

Aza Raskin (born February 1, 1984) is co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology,[1] and Earth Species Project.[2] He is also a writer, entrepreneur, inventor, and interface designer.[3][4][5] He is the son of human–computer interface expert and initiator of the Macintosh project at Apple, Jef Raskin.

As an advocate for the ethical use of technology, Raskin is critical of the effects that modern technology has on everyday lives and society.[6] Along with Tristan Harris, Raskin has extensively talked about the powers and potential dangers that technology poses to modern society in the podcast Your Undivided Attention.[7] In 2019, he became a member of the World Economic Forum's Global AI Council.[8]

Raskin also coined the phrase "freedom of speech is not freedom of reach,"[9][10] which was the title of an article that he wrote with Renee Diresta.[11] "Freedom of speech is not freedom of reach" has become a defining term to understand the large scale implications of platform amplification and free speech. The phrase has been publicly quoted by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey when banning political advertisements on Twitter.[12][13]

Raskin has been noted for continuing his father's work in project Archy, for working as head of user experience at Mozilla Labs and lead designer for Firefox, and for founding various start-up companies. Raskin is also known for inventing the infinite scroll.[14] More recently, he has collaborated on virtual reality projects[15] and zooming user interface (ZUI).[16]


Personal projects[edit]

Aza Raskin gave his first talk on user interfaces at age 10 at the local San Francisco chapter of SIGCHI.[17] He holds bachelor's degrees in mathematics and physics from the University of Chicago.[18]

In 2004, he worked with his father Jef Raskin at the Raskin Center for Humane Interfaces on Archy, a user interface paradigm.[19] The next year, he founded Humanized Inc. to continue work on the Archy paradigm. At Humanized, he created the language-based service-oriented Enso software.[20]

During the devastating earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, Raskin mobilized with a group of other entrepreneurs (including Joshua Rosen, the art director of Steven Spielberg's movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence), to create a crowdsourced website to turn real-time information streams into meaningful map data, used by several major non-governmental organizations helping on the ground in Haiti hosted at[citation needed]

Raskin is an active phishing researcher,[21] best known for discovering[22][23] the tabnabbing[24] attack. The attack takes advantage of open browser tabs to launch phishing sites without the user's knowledge.

He has a number of smaller projects like Algorithm Ink (based on Context Free) [25] which generates art from a formal grammar.[26]

Raskin advocated for iterative governance in the Rebooting Britain series of Wired UK magazine, and was also on its cover.[27] He has also given a TED talk about new humane directions for computing.[28]

Mozilla Corporation[edit]

In 2008, Humanized employees including Raskin were part of a hire-out by the Mozilla Corporation.[29] In 2010, Raskin was appointed Creative Lead for Firefox,[30] having previously been head of user experience at Mozilla Labs.[18] He has worked on several labs projects including Ubiquity,[31] Firefox for mobile,[32] and wrote the original specification for the Geolocation API.[33]

In 2010, Raskin introduced the results of his work on the Firefox team at Mozilla: Tab Candy. Organizing tabs spatially, Tab Candy allowed the user to "organize browsing, to see all of our tabs at once, and focus on the task at hand".[34]

Tab Candy's initial design and alpha release has been called "the best new browser feature since tabs were invented" by Computerworld.[35] Tab Candy was later renamed Firefox Panorama and hidden by default in the initial Firefox 4 release. Panorama was moved to an add-on and removed from Firefox.[36]


Raskin has founded two other companies besides Humanized, including Songza, a music meta-search tool, and Bloxes, which sold furniture made out of cardboard.[37] Songza was acquired in late 2008 by Amazon-backed Amie Street.[38] Songza was eventually bought by Google and now powers much of Google Play. Songza was also responsible for mood and activity-based playlists.[39][40]

By the end of 2010, Raskin announced[41] he had left Mozilla to begin a health-related venture at the Massive Health startup, with the goal to apply design principles to the problem of being healthy.[42][43] In 2011, he received the Master of Design award from Fast Company for his work as co-founder of Massive Health.[44] On April 16, 2012, Massive Health announced that Raskin would lead the company as Chief Vision Officer.[45] Massive Health was acquired by Jawbone in 2013.[46]

Earth Species Project[edit]

In 2017, Raskin founded the Earth Species Project,[47][48] an open-source collaborative and nonprofit dedicated to decoding animal communication that launched with an NPR Invisibilia podcast in 2020.[49][50]

Opinions on technology use[edit]

As one of the co-founders of the Center for Humane Technology,[1] Raskin has been an advocate for the ethical use of technology, and is critical of the effects that modern technology has on everyday lives and society.[6] He has also given talks on the far-reaching and often negative effects of modern technology use for Wired magazine[51] and The Wall Street Journal,[52] as well as Bits & Pretzels,[53] Slush,[54] Humanity 2.0,[55] and Laurie Segall.[56]

In 2019, Raskin became a member of the World Economic Forum's Global AI Council.[8]

Media and other activities[edit]

Raskin was featured on the cover of Off Screen magazine in 2018.[57] In 2019, he was included in The Art of Curiosity, the Exploratorium's 50th anniversary book.[58] As a multimedia artist who has collaborated with various artists, he was also a guest curator for Ars Electronica's 40th anniversary in 2019,[59] and has exhibited his artwork at an exhibition about North and South Korea.[60]

Raskin has been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30,[61] and was also one of the "Most Creative People" featured by Fast Company.[62]

In April 2020, Raskin was interviewed on a podcast with Laurie Segall speaking about the long-term effects of tech and the digital age during the COVID-19 pandemic.[63]

Personal life[edit]

Aza Raskin married Wendellen Li in August 2015.[64] The couple has since divorced.



  1. ^ a b "Center for Humane Technology team members". Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  2. ^ Jepsen, Mary Lou; Ryan, John (December 29, 2019). "Artificial intelligence is helping us talk to animals (yes, really)". Wired. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  3. ^ Campofiorito, Matteo (September 1, 2008). "Interview with Aza Raskin, Head of User Experience for Mozilla Labs". oneopensource. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
  4. ^ "Mozilla warns of new phishing scam". Infosecurity Magazine. May 27, 2010.
  5. ^ Shankland, Stephen (March 8, 2009). "Firefox, too, revamping new-tab behavior". CNET News. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
  6. ^ a b Dodds, Laurence (10 May 2019). "'We lost control of our creations': The Silicon Valley heretic on a mission to make Big Tech repent". Telegraph.
  7. ^ "Your Undivided Attention Podcast". Humane Tech.
  8. ^ a b "Aza Raskin".
  9. ^ "Design Principle for consideration: Introducing the Active Audience". Humane Tech. April 2019.
  10. ^ Newton, Casey (June 4, 2020). "What other social networks can learn from Snapchat's rebuke of Trump". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  11. ^ "Free Speech Is Not the Same As Free Reach". Wired. 2018.
  12. ^ "Free Speech Is Not the Same As Free Reach". TechCrunch. 2019-11-22.
  13. ^ Jack Dorsey (Oct 31, 2019). "Twitter".
  14. ^ Knowles, Tom (April 27, 2019). "I'm so sorry, says inventor of endless online scrolling".
  15. ^ Pierce, David (September 22, 2016). "VR Headset Makes All Your iPhone Videos 3-D". Wired.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Raskin, Jef; Aza Raskin (September 13, 1994). The Interface Paradox. BayCHI Monthly Program. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
  18. ^ a b Raskin, Aza. "Aza's Thoughts - About me". Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
  19. ^ McCarthy, Jack (February 28, 2005). "Mac creator Jef Raskin dies of cancer". InfoWorld. Archived from the original on March 3, 2005. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
  20. ^ December 28, 2011
  21. ^ Jakobsson, Markus; Myers, Steven, eds. (2006). Phishing and Counter-Measures: Understanding the Increasing Problem of Electronic Identity Theft. Wiley. p. 800. ISBN 0-471-78245-9.
  22. ^ "InformationWeek, serving the information needs of the Business Technology Community". InformationWeek. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  23. ^ "Aza Raskin's original disclosure of Tabnabbing". Archived from the original on 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  24. ^ "Tabnapping Web Browser Attack Makes Phishing Easy". eWEEK.
  25. ^ "Context Free Art".
  26. ^ "Algorithm Ink | Aza Raskin". Archived from the original on 2008-08-12. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
  27. ^ Raskin, Aza (November 30, 2009). "Rebooting Britain: Enact beta versions of new laws". Wired UK – via
  28. ^ "Aza Raskin at TEDGlobal 2009: Running notes from Session 3". July 22, 2009.
  29. ^ Raskin, Aza (January 16, 2008). "Joining Mozilla". Humanized. Archived from the original on January 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
  30. ^ Raskin, Aza (March 30, 2010). "Firefox Looks Inward For a Creative Boost". Giga Om. Archived from the original on April 3, 2010. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
  31. ^ Raskin, Aza (August 26, 2008). "Introducing Ubiquity". Mozilla Labs. Archived from the original on March 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
  32. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (June 11, 2008). "Zoom, Pan, Throw: A Peek At What Firefox Mobile Could Be". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on March 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
  33. ^ Popescu, Andrei (July 7, 2009). "Geolocation API Specification". W3C. Archived from the original on July 16, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  34. ^ Raskin, Aza. "Tab Candy: Making Firefox Tabs Sweet". Archived from the original on August 23, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
  35. ^ Gralla, Preston (August 26, 2010). "Firefox 4 Beta 4 opens a new Panorama". Computerworld.
  36. ^ "836758 - Convert Panorama into an add-on". Archived from the original on 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
  37. ^ Wenzel, Elsa (March 7, 2008). "Cardboard key to a 'green' office space". CNET News. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
  38. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-03-09. Retrieved 2009-05-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  39. ^ "This Is What It Feels Like When Google Buys Your Startup". Business Insider. Aug 3, 2014.
  40. ^ "A $50 device turns any video into a 3D experience — and is a terrifying way to watch 'Game of Thrones'". Yahoo. Oct 1, 2016.
  41. ^ Aza Raskin. "Leaving Mozilla, Starting Massive Health". Archived from the original on 2015-02-06. Retrieved 2010-12-17.
  42. ^ Myers, Courtney Boyd (December 14, 2010). "Aza Raskin Leaves Mozilla to Start Massive Health". The Next Web.
  43. ^ at 11:41, Kelly Fiveash December 15, 2010. "Firefox UI man quits Mozilla for new health-conscious venture".
  44. ^ "Fast Company Dedicates October Issue to "The United States of Design"". Fast Company. September 14, 2011.
  45. ^ "Massive Health CEO and Co-Founder Sutha Kamal departs company. Co-Founder Aza Raskin succeeds him".
  46. ^ Velazco, Chris. "Jawbone Acquires Mobile Health Startup Massive Health In Big Talent Acquisition". TechCrunch. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  47. ^ "Earth Species Project".
  48. ^ Yoder, Kate (March 25, 2020). "Starved for human voices? Listen to a podcast about whale songs and climate change". Grist. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  49. ^ "Two Heartbeats A Minute". NPR. April 10, 2020. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  50. ^ Calma, Justine (March 6, 2020). "Go listen to this podcast about decoding the songs of whales". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  51. ^ "Rebalancing Our Relationship With Tech". Wired magazine. 28 June 2019.
  52. ^ "Silicon Valley Renegades Take On Tech Obsession". The Wall Street Journal. Jul 2, 2018.
  53. ^ "Aza Raskin (Center for Humane Technology): The digital attention crisis". Bits & Pretzels. Nov 28, 2019.
  54. ^ "How to Create Human Protective Technology by Aza Raskin". Slush. Dec 7, 2018.
  55. ^ "Aza Raskin from the Center for Humane Technology on the impact of technology on the human condition". Humanity 2.0. Jul 2, 2019.
  56. ^ "Tech's Next Threat: The Weaponization of Loneliness". First Contact with Laurie Segall. iHeart. December 9, 2019.
  57. ^ "Aza Raskin". Off Screen magazine. No. 20. 2018.
  58. ^ Exploratorium (2019). "Aza Raskin". The Art of Curiosity: 50 Visionary Artists, Scientists, Poets, Makers & Dreamers Who Are Changing the Way We See Our World. Off Screen magazine. Weldon Owen. ISBN 9781681889993.
  59. ^ "Gallery between North and South Korea features exhibition by art professor Jimin Lee". UC Santa Cruz. July 6, 2018.
  60. ^ Lee, Jimin (Jan 15, 2019). "Jimin Lee: To the Edge and Back". Issuu.
  61. ^ "Aza Raskin, Co-founder, Massive Health, 27". Forbes and Inc 30 under 30.
  62. ^ "Aza Raskin". Fast Company.
  63. ^ "Covid-19 Has Made Us Slaves to Tech: Will We Ever Escape?". First Contact with Laurie Segall. iHeart Radio. April 20, 2020. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  64. ^ The Georgian, January 2016.




External links[edit]