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 John  McKnight, Ph.D.

John McKnight, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Sociology of Emerging Technologies

Dr. John Carter McKnight’s work unites his academic training in the sociology of technology with a prior decade’s experience as an attorney specializing in financing high-technology companies. He teaches a broad range of courses about technology use, governance, and ethics, with a particular focus on teaching, reading/writing literacy in new media, from messaging apps and games to virtual reality.

Dr. McKnight has taught and guest lectured in the US, the UK, and Denmark, and presented papers at Oxford University, the European Parliament, San Diego Comic-Con, and an English pub. His publications include work on the ethics of social robots, governance issues in long-term spaceflight, and peer-to-peer personal finance systems. John has been an officer and director of STEM-related nonprofit organizations, including The Mars Society and the Space Frontier Foundation, was briefly CEO of a startup spacesuit design firm, and holds a NASA certification in planetary protection as well as a Red Cross certification in international humanitarian law.

He conducts research in two main areas:
Online communities, platforms, and producers: he studies online community formation and management, examining the interplay of community culture, technological platforms, user interface/experience design, and user/producer interactions.

Ethics and governance of emerging technologies: Much of his work examines the management and governance of innovation, with a particular interest in social robotics, space exploration, and alternative financial tools such as cryptocurrencies.

In addition to his Ph.D. in Human & Social Dimensions of Science & Technology from Arizona State University, Dr. McKnight holds a JD from the New York University School of Law, a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a BA (honors) in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Teaching and Research Interests:

Dr. McKnight’s work focuses on developing games and simulations to model complex adaptive systems at the global level, particularly related to the governance of science and technology. He is the faculty lead of the SimGlobal project, a classroom simulation system for teaching the application of STEM skills to complex global problems. The team’s simulations have been presented and tested at conferences and workshops around the world, including the Irish Conference on Game-Based Learning, the North American Simulation and Gaming Association, The City University of New York Games Conference, STEM-UP PA, and the US Army War College.


Ph.D. in Human & Social Dimensions of Science & Technology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA.

D.Jur., New York University School of Law, New York City, NY, USA.

M.A. in International Affairs, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, New York City, NY, USA.

B.A. in Political Science, University of Califoria, Santa Barbara, CA, USA.

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