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Past Seminars

The HCII Seminar Series has been a weekly tradition at CMU since 1990. Details of our seminars from 2014 to present, as well as many of their recordings, are available below. A few years ago, we held a year of special programming in celebration of the seminar's 25th anniversary.

Date Title Speaker Seminar Video Abstract
Seminar: Morgan Ames Morgan Ames
Assistant Adjunct Professor in the School of Information and Associate Director of the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society at the University of California, Berkeley
Seminar Video "The Charisma Machine: The Life, Death, and Legacy of One Laptop per Child" Drawing on her book, The Charisma Machine, Ames chronicles the life and legacy of the One Laptop per Child project and explains why — despite its failures — the same utopian visions that inspired OLPC still motivate… Full Details
Seminar: Timnit Gebru Timnit Gebru
Co-founder, Black in AI
Seminar Video "The hierarchy of knowledge in machine learning and related fields and its consequences" Feminist and race and gender scholars have long critiqued "the view from nowhere" that assumes science is "objective" and studied from no particular standpoint. In this talk, I discuss how… Full Details
Seminar: Oliver Haimson Oliver Haimson
Assistant Professor, University of Michigan, School of Information
Seminar Video "Designing Trans Technology" Transgender and nonbinary people face substantial challenges in the world, ranging from social inequities and discrimination to lack of access to resources. Though technology cannot fully solve these problems, technological solutions may help to address some of the… Full Details
Seminar: Andrea G. Parker Andrea G. Parker
Associate Professor, School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Tech
Seminar Video "Community Wellness Informatics: Designing Technology for Health Equity" In the United States, there are serious and persistent disparities in health outcomes. For example, socioeconomic status is predictive of mortality and disease, with low-SES households … Full Details
Seminar: Ayanna M Howard Ayanna M Howard
Dean, College of Engineering, The Ohio State University
"Understanding and Mitigating Bias and Human Overtrust in Robotics and AI" People tend to overtrust sophisticated computing devices, including robotic systems. As these systems become more fully interactive with humans during the performance of day-to-day activities, the role of bias in these… Full Details
Seminar: Denae Ford Robinson Denae Ford Robinson
Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research and Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Washington
Seminar Video "A Tale of Two Cities: Software Developers in Practice During the COVID-19 Pandemic" The mass shift to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic radically changed the way many software development teams collaborate, communicate, and define productivity. Since the early months of the pandemic… Full Details
Seminar: Tawanna Dillahunt Tawanna Dillahunt
Associate Professor, University of Michigan
Seminar Video "Designing and Rethinking the Role of Digital Tools in Support of Employment among Job Seekers Experiencing Marginalization" Today’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are designed to address one of society’s most pressing problems---unemployment. These technologies are… Full Details
Seminar: Charlton McIlwain Charlton McIlwain
Vice Provost for Faculty & Professor of Media Culture, and Communication, New York University
Seminar Video "Dreams of (Black) Tech Futures Past" Abstract: This is what could have been. If the computer geeks at MIT in 1960 had just held on just a little while longer with our Mississippi freedom riders. If our uprisings in Watts, and Detroit, and Newark and Kansas City did not make us the computing… Full Details
Seminar: Yolanda Rankin Yolanda Rankin
Assistant Professor, School of Communications & Information, Florida State University
"Rethinking Intersectionality in the Field of Computing: A Black Woman's Perspective" Intersectionality, a critical framework that examines how interconnected systems of power oppress marginalized populations, is currently receiving new garnered attention in the context of Human-Computer… Full Details
Seminar: Jessica Hullman Jessica Hullman
Associate Professor of Computer Science, Northwestern University
Seminar Video "Beyond Visualization: Theories of Inference to Improve Data Analysis & Communication" Data analysis is a decidedly human task. As Tukey and Wilk once wrote, “Nothing—not the careful logic of mathematics, not statistical models and theories, not the awesome arithmetic power of modern computers… Full Details
Seminar: Anne Marie Piper Anne Marie Piper
Associate Professor, University of California Irvine
Seminar Video "Rethinking Design for Accessibility" Approximately 61 million Americans, or one in four U.S. adults, have a disability that affects daily life. Despite the prevalence of disability across the lifespan, accessibility is typically an afterthought in technology design. Discussions of accessibility… Full Details
Seminar: Tamara Lynnette Clegg Tamara Lynnette Clegg
Associate Professor, College of Information Studies and the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership, College of Education, University of Maryland
Seminar Video "Designing Socio-technical Systems for Learning in the Third Place" Oldenberg (1989) characterizes Third Places as the gathering places outside of home, work, and school where informal public life (e.g., friendship, laughter, light-heartedness, civic participation) develop dynamically. Indeed… Full Details
Seminar: Martin Robillard Martin Robillard
Professor, McGill University
"Supporting opportunistic learning in software development with Wikipedia" Programmers are continually in situations where they must discover what they do not know and learn new concepts. Based on my recent research in this area, this talk will contrast the strengths and weaknesses of Wikipedia as… Full Details
Seminar: Amy J Ko Amy J Ko
Professor, The Information School, University of Washington, Seattle
Seminar Video "Critical Computing Education" Computing can be a wondrous, powerful tool, bringing us information, experiences, and connections that transform our lives for the better. However, as many of us have learned, computing has also contributed to great injustices, increasing surveillance of our most… Full Details
Seminar: Karthik Ramani Karthik Ramani
Donald W. Feddersen Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
Seminar Video "Augmenting Humans in Design Fabrication, Robotics, and Workflows Through Spatially Aware Interfaces" The convergence of many factors such as low-cost sensors, electronics, computing, fabrication, and more recently machine learning, aided by new designs for human interactive interfaces, has… Full Details
Seminar: Niloufar Salehi Niloufar Salehi
Assistant Professor, School of Information, UC Berkeley
Seminar Video "From content moderation to school assignment: What do theories of justice teach us about design?" Computational systems have a complex relationship with justice: they may be designed with the intent to promote justice, tasked to resolve injustices, or actively contribute to injustice itself. In… Full Details
Seminar: Parmit Chilana Parmit Chilana
Assistant Professor, Computing Science, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Seminar Video Beyond "One-Size-Fits-All": Designing for User Diversity in Software Learning and Help-Seeking Learning to use feature-rich software, such as 3D design tools and video editors, is a challenging endeavour. Novice users often find it difficult to gain awareness of what is possible in the application… Full Details
Seminar: Chris Martens Chris Martens
Assistant Professor of Computer Science, NC State
Seminar Video "The politics of programming: towards convivial and liberatory digital tools" The software industry and corresponding educational pipeline maintains a number of well-documented power imbalances, including hierarchies of pay and respect afforded to “technical” and “non-technical” fields of study,… Full Details
Seminar: Post Doctoral Fellows Seminar Video Alex Ahmed Title: "Community-based design of open source software for transgender people" Abstract: From the surveillance of undocumented people to the algorithmic management and exploitation of gig economy workers, people are increasingly alienated from how technologies are designed and how they… Full Details
Seminar: Molly Lewis Molly Lewis
Research Scientist, Department of Psychology and Social & Decision Sciences
Seminar Video What are we learning from language? Cognitive and social biases are encoded in the structure of natural language Natural language provides speakers with information about the world through both explicit messages (e.g., "Mongolia is cold"), and through implicit messages present in the… Full Details
Seminar: HCII Post Doctoral Fellows
4 Guest Speakers from the HCII
Post Doctoral Fellows
Seminar Video Cynthia Bennett "The Care Work of Access" ABSTRACT: Current approaches to AI and Assistive Technology (AT) often foreground task completion over other encounters such as expressions of care. Our paper challenges and complements such task-completion approaches by attending to the care work of… Full Details
Conversation, Design, and Wicked Problems Paul Pangaro
Professor of Practice, CMU HCII
Seminar Video The Colloquy of Mobiles was designed by Gordon Pask in 1968, a magnificent mechatronic expression of the sexual revolution at the dawn of personal computing. Colloquy’s male and female forms interact in delightful and unexpected ways to "satisfy" their “drives."   Replicated by Paul… Full Details
Building a future for theatrical play: Designing for Expressive Participatory Mixed Reality Performance
Tess Tanenbaum
Assistant Professor, Transformative Play Lab, Department of Informatics, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, University of California Irvine
In this talk I'm going to discuss my approach to the theory and practice of “Theatrical Play” through the lens of three prototype systems currently under development in my lab. Digital media and games have long drawn on models and practices from the performing arts. Similarly, theatrical production… Full Details
Augmenting Designers: Developing tools and methods to help designers do what they do better Nikolas Martelaro
HCII - CMU / Assistant Professor
Recent advances in technologies such as conversational agents, robotics, machine learning, mixed reality, and the internet-of-things are allowing designers to create more interactive and intelligent products and services. These technologies bring up new questions around human-machine interaction… Full Details
The MAGIC of Semantic IxD Daniel Rosenberg
Adjunct Professor UX Design, at San Jose State University | Founder of RCDO UX LLC
Seminar Video Do you know how much cognitive load your design ideas will place on the user even before you sketch out the first screen? If the cognitive load of your UX design is too high, users will find your product difficult and unpleasant to use. It's possible to measure cognitive load in a usability lab,… Full Details
Mobile, Social, and Fashion: Three Stories from Data-Driven Design Ranjitha Kumar
Chief Research Scientist, UserTesting | Assistant Professor, Computer Science Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Seminar Video Having access to the right types of data at scale is increasingly the key to designing innovation. In this talk, I'll discuss how my group has created original datasets for three domains — mobile app design, fashion retail, and social networks — and leveraged them to build novel user experiences.… Full Details
Understanding Human Behavior for Better Assistive Robots Henny Admoni
Assistant Professor Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University | Human And Robot Partners (HARP) Lab
Human-robot interaction has the potential to transform the way people work and live, particularly when it comes to assistive robots that help people with activities of daily living. To be effective, these robots must be able to recognize aspects of their human partners such as what their goals are… Full Details
Near-living Spaces: Paradigms and Methods Philip Beesley
Principal, Philip Beesley Architect Inc. | Primary Investigator, Living Architecture Systems Group
Using detailed illustrations of recent projects of the Living Architecture Systems Group, this talk will offer renewed working methods that can contribute to increasingly precarious far-from-equilibrium environments. Detailed case studies that range from couture collaborations to architectural-… Full Details
Doing Inclusive Design: From GenderMag to InclusiveMag Margaret Burnett
OSU Distinguished Professor, Oregon State University
How can software professionals assess whether their software supports diverse users? And if they find problems, how can they fix them? Although there are empirical processes that can be used to find “inclusivity bugs” piecemeal, what is often needed is a systematic inspection method to assess… Full Details
Who is in the Crowd? Characterizing the Capabilities of Prize Competition Competitors Zoe Szajnfarber
Associate Professor of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering and of International Affairs, The George Washington University
Seminar Video This seminar presents findings from a recent field experiment designed to characterize who in the crowd is willing and able to solve complex engineering design problems for the prospect of a prize. Contrary to popular skepticism, we find that the crowd is highly capable of not only providing… Full Details