D. Livingston McPherson

For citizens to take control of their lives in our mechanized society, we need to understand the machines all around us. Whether building understanding together in-person or building machines for you to explore, I am obsessed with how humans come to understand machines. By understanding human learning processes, we can redesign our world to nurture that process.


I have introduced hundreds of learners to fundamental engineering science and equipped new researchers with active skills for exploring intelligent systems design.

Community Organizing

Bringing people together to support each other and contribute to our communities.


Mutual understanding is the foundation of solid collaboration, yet our autonomous agents' inner workings are scarcely understood by their users. We must redesign our machines to work with how people learn

What I Study

I study how humans learn so that we can design intelligent systems to support human meaning-making and agency. I work on

Human Perception

Through models of dynamic perception we can empower robots to act informatively. By interfacing to human perception we can extend human vision, understanding, and control.

Intelligent Traffic for Humane Streets

We must prioritize each humans' unique concerns through data-efficient online learning of actionable safety. I design self-driving intelligences to honor and empower humans' use of our streets.

Mechanisms for Guaranteed Safety

My work builds on mathematical guarantees of safety from control theory, creating robust human safety.

Human Cognition

Machines must conform to human thinking, not the other way around. My work explores the complexities of human thinking processes to improve machines' impacts.

Collaborative Machines

My work aims to create machines that truly collaborate with human agency, extending our capability and understanding.

Value Alignment

Human values, needs, and perspectives come first. Robots can come to understand these needs through statistically aligning models to human action data.

Get in touch

You can reach me online through my university email address or through one of my professional socials: