William Powers is a writer and technologist. He spent his early career as a staff writer at The Washington Post and as a media critic for national magazines.
He is the author of Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age (HarperCollins, 2010), one of the early books to question the impact of digital technologies on our minds and lives. A New York Times bestseller, it has been published in many countries and languages.
Begun at MacDowell during his 2008 Fellowship, the book then took him to MIT, where he spent five years as a research scientist working on projects to ensure that artificial intelligence reflects human values and enables social progress. He's now Visiting Scholar for Humanistic Technologies at the Max Planck Center for Humans and Machines in Berlin.
He's writing a short book that will make the case for a new way of thinking about artificial intelligence, rooted in the experience, needs and aspirations of everyday people.
At MacDowell in 2023, Powers wrote a proposal for a book. A follow-in to Hamlet's BlackBerry, it will offer a philosophical vision for a more human-centered technology future. It will draw on his experience over the last decade working on AI projects in labs at MIT, USC, and currently the Max Planck Center for Humans and Machines in Berlin.