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Tuesday, April 12 2022
8:00pm - 9:00pm

HCI Seminar: Elizabeth Mynatt - From Everyday Computing to Computing for Everyone

Abstract:

In 1998 I created the Everyday Computing Lab at Georgia Tech following formative years ubiquitous computing researcher at Xerox PARC. The founding charter of the Everyday Computing Lab was to understand the transformation of everyday life as computing was ubiquitously integrated into informal, daily activities and routines. In parallel we worked to design human-centered computing experiences that augmented, amplified, and empowered people across many home health and work settings. Two decades later we have provoked and witnessed this transformation. Key contributions center on understanding how people take care of their health and the health of their family and the role computation can play in helping individuals engage in their own care, in facilitating problem solving and decision making, and in creating a network of communication and collaboration channels that extend healthcare delivery to everyday settings. This shift from institutional healthcare to everyday health also foregrounds a shift in agency, privacy, and empowerment.

While this positive framing served this research agenda well, we noticed troubling patterns in the accessibility and influence of computing in everyday life. Pervasive, easy to access computing wasn’t always beneficial. Common design techniques did not equitably benefit everyone. Data-centered approaches left blind spots and introduced biases. While the potential of computing appeared to be boundless, the reality was varying rewards distributed unequally. Moreover, the rush to modernize, automate, and network almost every facet of everyday life threatens to accelerate these new “digital divides”.

In this talk I reflect on the lessons, both positive and negative, learned during our journey to understand the transformation of everyday life amidst the increasing pervasiveness of computing. I then sketch a revised agenda that foregrounds how computing innovation should be shaped by the goal of computing for everyone.

Bio:


In January 2022, Elizabeth Mynatt joined Northeastern University as the Dean of the Khoury College of Computer Sciences following a 23-year career at the Georgia Institute of Technology where she most recently served as Regents’ Professor in the College of Computing and executive director of the Institute of People and Technology.

In her research Mynatt has investigated the design and evaluation of health information technologies including creating personalized mobile technology for supporting breast cancer patients during their cancer journey, evaluating mobile sensing and mHealth engagement for pediatric epilepsy patients and their caregivers, and investigating the positive and negative influence of social media on self-harm behaviors such as eating disorders. She was also one of the principal researchers in the Georgia Tech Aware Home Research Initiative; investigating the design of future home technologies, especially those that enable older adults to continue living independently as opposed to moving to an institutional care setting.

Mynatt has been recognized as a member of the SIGCHI Academy, and as a AAAS, Sloan and Kavli research fellow. She has published more than 100 scientific papers, led grants from the NSF and NIH, and chaired the premier international conference in human-computer interaction. In 2015 she became a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) for contributions to human-centered computing and the development of health information technologies.

For those who might wish to attend remotely, the seminar will also be on Zoom: https://mit.zoom.us/j/95923816038.


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