Music, Integrated Media Alumnus Raphael Arar Makes Forbes’ ’30 Under 30′ List

Raphael Arar has been selected as one of Forbes magazine’s ’30 Under 30.’

Raphael Arar (Music/IM MFA 14), an artist, designer and technologist, made Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” list for its Enterprise Technology category.

The San Jose-based Arar, currently a principal designer for IBM, leads Cognitive UX, a long-term project that is working to develop user experience that changes based on context and the user’s needs. In addition to his work in Silicon Valley, Arar also serves as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.

His art and installations have been displayed in museums, galleries, conferences and festivals around the world, including the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA), Gamble House Museum in Pasadena, Calif., Boston Cyberarts Gallery and Athens Video Art Festival.

This year, Arar says he will continue exploring artificial intelligence (AI) with two installations this year. From his website:

The first one is around the concept of nostalgia as a poetic reference to AI systems that attempt to quantify and calculate emotion. Can we leverage AI to predict sentimentality? Machine learning can only take us so far, but humans are creatures of habit. A snapshot of a 3D model for the sculptural component of this work can be seen below.

A photo posted by Raphael Arar (@rarar) on


The second piece will be around the concept of Dark Patterns. Fast Company claimed 2016 was the year dark patterns won. Many of us feel mislead by digital media—I find it curious that platforms that are supposed to be bringing us closer together has cultivated a greater sense of obfuscation. Perhaps if we can increase awareness and criticality of our digital platforms, we can relinquish some control over them.

According to Forbes, the men and women selected for the category list are intrinsically involved in “building innovative software and services, raising funding from the most sought after venture capitalists, serving Fortune 500 customers and in some cases, generating tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue.” The choices were shaped by a panel of expert judges from the sector: Douglas Leone, managing partner, Sequoia Capital; Jeff Lawson, cofounder and CEO, Twilio; and 2016 Under 30 alumna Maran Nelson, cofounder and CEO, Clara Labs.

Arar joins 599 other innovators and change-makers selected for the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list (there are 20 categories total, ranging from art & style, Hollywood, music, education, etc.). To view the complete list, please visit the Forbes site.

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