February 7, 2020

Lecture: Jeffrey Heer, University of Washington

Title: "Agency + Automation: Designing Artificial Intelligence into Interactive Systems"

Time: February 7, 2020
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Jeffrey Heer from the University of Washington will give a lecture entitled "Agency + Automation: Designing Artificial Intelligence into Interactive Systems" at the Visualization Research Center (VISUS) on February 7, 2020.


Much contemporary rhetoric regards the prospects and pitfalls of using artificial intelligence techniques to automate an increasing range of tasks, especially those once considered the purview of people alone. These accounts are often wildly optimistic, understating outstanding challenges while turning a blind eye to the human labor that undergirds and sustains ostensibly “automated” services. This long-standing focus on purely automated methods unnecessarily cedes a promising design space: one in which computational assistance augments and enriches, rather than replaces, people’s intellectual work. This tension between agency and automation poses vital challenges for design, engineering, and society at large. In this talk we will consider the design of interactive systems that enable adaptive collaboration among people and computational agents. We seek to balance the often complementary strengths and weaknesses of each, while promoting human control and skillful action. We will review case studies in three arenas -- exploratory visualization, data wrangling, and natural language translation -- that integrate proactive computational support into interactive systems. To improve outcomes and support learning by both people and machines, I will describe the use of shared representations of tasks augmented with predictive models of human capabilities and actions.

About Jeffrey Heer

Jeffrey Heer is the Jerre D. Noe Endowed Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he directs the Interactive Data Lab and conducts research on data visualization, human-computer interaction and social computing. The visualization tools developed by Jeff and his collaborators (Vega, D3.js, Protovis, Prefuse) are used by researchers, companies, and thousands of data enthusiasts around the world. Jeff's research papers have received awards at the premier venues in Human-Computer Interaction and Visualization (ACM CHI, ACM UIST, IEEE InfoVis, IEEE VAST, EuroVis). Other honors include MIT Technology Review's TR35 (2009), a Sloan Fellowship (2012), an Allen Distinguished Investigator Award (2014), a Moore Foundation Data-Driven Discovery Investigator Award (2014), and the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award (2016). Jeff holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, whom he then "betrayed" to join the Stanford faculty (2009–2013). He is also a co-founder of Trifacta, a provider of interactive tools for scalable data transformation.

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