I study the intellectual history of technology, old and new -- with a focus on the humanistic questions it poses for thinking about culture, communication, innovation, and other facets of our increasingly digital society. In addition to teaching and writing about technology and the humanities, I am passionately steeped in all things writing: teaching it and doing it, researching its past and theorizing its future.

Much of my writing examines and chronicles the spread of big ideas and soft problems that underlie advances in Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and the Internet of Things.

Book Cover for The Philosopher of Palo Alto

My latest book -- The Philosopher of Palo Alto: Mark Weiser, Xerox PARC, and the Original Internet of Things -- was published by the University of Chicago Press in Summer 2023. A description of the book is available on the publisher's website and on Amazon. The Philosopher of Palo Alto has been reviewed in the New Yorker, New York Review of Books, MIT Technology Review, and on German public radio. I've recently spoken about the book at Stanford, the Palo Alto Research Center, and to research groups at Google, as well as on ABC7 Bay Area TV.

My essays on technology, rhetoric, and culture have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Boston Review, and San Fransisco Chronicle, and in numerous academic journals, such as Computational Culture, Environmental Communication, and Computers & Composition. My first book, Actionable Media (Oxford UP, 2018), explored a new wave of digital art and communication that is emerging within the ubiquitous computing environments of smart cities. With Sean Morey, I also co-edited a book called Augmented Reality: Innovative Perspectives across Art, Industry, and Academia.

I am currently an Associate Professor of English and former Director of Digital Studies at the University of Colorado Denver, where I teach courses on the history & philosophy of technology, digital rhetoric & storytelling, and narrative nonfiction. I also teach interdisciplinary honors seminars on these topics for our University Honors & Leadership Program. I hold a Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida and was recently a Visiting Scholar in Communication at Stanford University.

My literary agent is Deirdre Mullane of Mullane Literary Associates.

Contact me at: john.tinnell [at] ucdenver.edu