- Self-employedFreelance science writer, present
- SRI International
- University of San Francisco
- Gallaudet University
Dr. Michael Chorost (pronounced “kor-ist”) was born with a severe hearing loss due to an epidemic of rubella. He didn’t learn to talk until he got hearing aids at age 3½. Those enabled him to grow up speaking English more or less normally, and he got a B.A. in English from Brown and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation was on how online environments are transforming classroom teaching. As a basis for his research, he created an online “collaboratory” in ColdFusion and used it in his English classes for four years. In 1998, this application won First Prize in the university’s annual contest for innovative educational software.
In 1999 he moved from Austin to San Francisco for a dot-com job, and then moved to another job at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. On July 7, 2001, he lost the remaining hearing in his one usable ear and got a cochlear implant shortly afterward. This experience was chronicled in his book, Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human (Houghton Mifflin, 2005). It has garnered over 20 strong reviews from publications such as the L.A. Times, the Times of London, the Village Voice, the Chronicle for Higher Education, and Business Week. It was named as an Editor’s Choice in Reader’s Digest’s August 2005 issue. It won the PEN/USA Book Award for Creative Nonfiction in 2006, and has been optioned for the screen. It has also been published in the UK and translated into Japanese.
Dr. Chorost has been interviewed by numerous periodicals including The New York Times, The Economist, The Independent, SonntagZeitung, and U.S. News & World Report, and has been a guest on National Public Radio shows including the Leonard Lopate Show, Michael Krasny’s Forum, and Weekend Edition. He has given numerous book readings around the country, and has spoken at Brown University, Duke University, the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, the Conference for World Affairs, the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disorders, the Institute for the Future, and Google. He has also appeared on the television shows BBC Breakfast TV, CBS Marketwatch, Eyewitness News, and C-SPAN’s BookTV. On a tour of the U.K. in spring 2006 he spoke on numerous BBC radio shows including Radio Leiceister, Radio Birmingham, and Radio 5’s Up at Night.
Since his book came out he has written for The Washington Post, Wired, The Futurist, The Scientist, Technology Review, Sky, the Stanford Medical Report, and The Best American Science Writing 2006. He screenwrote a TV special on brain implants titled The 22nd Century, which aired on PBS in January 2007.
Along with Chris DiGiano of SRI International (now at Google) and Shelley Goldman of Stanford, he co-edited the book Educating Learning Technology Designers: Guiding and Inspiring Creators of Innovative Educational Tools, which was published by Routledge in November 2008.
In July 2008, he contracted with The Free Press (Simon & Schuster) to write his second book, “World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humans and Machines.”
In the 2008-2009 school year, he was a visiting professor at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. In August 2009, he moved permanently to that city.
He has a cat named Elvis. His website is http://www.michaelchorost.com.