Radical Machines: Chinese Computing and the Future of Writing

Chinese Typewriter

Join Studio Chi, the Department of History, and the Chinese Studies Program for “Radical Machines: Chinese Computing and the Future of Writing,” a lecture by Stanford professor and award-winning writer Dr. Thomas Mullaney, on

Wednesday, September 20 @ 5PM
DePaul McGowan South 108
1110 W Belden Ave
Chicago, IL 60614


John Shanahan says of Mullaney’s work: “It is about writing, reading, and changing interfaces. His book is getting a lot of attention because he has shown how much the history of the mobile phone interface had little-known global roots. Mullaney’s path-breaking scholarship has excavated an untold history of, for instance, how Chinese computer engineers in the 1950s and 1960s pioneered ‘predictive text input’ – i.e. the interface we use on our phones every day, and – we thought – only a decade or so old. (Briefly: without an alphabet, the Chinese system had to find a way to get to the roman alphabetic symbols in order to use keys and developed rules and short-cuts to do so … I could go on. A fascinating topic.)”

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