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Thursday, November 13 2014
8:30pm - 10:00pm

Technology of Value: Principles, Policy and Practice


Please join us next Thursday (Nov 13) at 4pm for a talk by Batya Friedman titled "Technology of Value: Principles, Policy and Practice”. Immediately following the talk there will be a small BostonCHI Labs reception so that we all have a chance to socialize a little and say hello to Batya. Immediately before the talk (at 3:30) there will be ice cream open to anyone attending the talk and to the CS community at Harvard. Please join us for any combination of these events!

When: Thursday, Nov 13 at 4pm (ice cream at 3:30; reception immediately after)
Where: Room G-115, Maxwell Dworkin building, Harvard; that’s at 33 Oxford St in Cambridge
Speaker: Batya Friedman, University of Washington

Technology of Value: Principles, Policy and Practice

Tools and technologies are fundamental to the human condition. They do no less than create and structure the conditions in which we live, express ourselves, enact society, and experience what it means to be human. They are also the result of human imagination. Yet, with our limited view, it is not at all obvious how to design tools and technology so that they are more likely to support the actions, relationships, institutions, and experiences that human beings care deeply about.

In this talk I will explore the question of how to design information and computing technology to be sensitive to human values and concerns. To do so, I will draw from over two decades of technical design work and theory development in Value Sensitive Design. Project areas include urban simulation, implantable medical devices, usable security, privacy in public, human-robotic interaction, and systems in support of international justice. Along the way, I will touch on how information and computer technologies instantiate human values, the locus of value tensions in complex systems, and key value tensions. From there, I will turn to methods from value sensitive design – direct and indirect stakeholder analyses, value scenarios, Envisioning Cards – which can be used to improve sensitivity to human values in technology research and design work. I will end with a few research challenges for which cutting edge technology design has provocative implications for human futures. Throughout, I will take an interactional stance: that our tools and technologies shape human experience and our very being; and through our experiences and being, we continually re-imagine those very tools and technologies.

Batya Friedman is a professor in the Information School, adjunct professor in the Department of Computer Science, and adjunct professor in the Department of Human-Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington where she co-directs the Value Sensitive Design Research Lab and co-directs the UW Tech Policy Lab. Dr. Friedman pioneered value sensitive design (VSD), an approach to account for human values in the design of information systems. First developed in human-computer interaction, VSD has since been used in information management, human-robotic interaction, computer security, civil engineering, applied philosophy, and land use and transportation. Her work has focused on a wide range of values, some include privacy in public, trust, freedom from bias, moral agency, sustainability, safety, calmness, freedom of expression, and human dignity; along with a range of technologies such as web browsers, urban simulation, robotics, open source tools, mobile computing, implantable medical devices, social media, ubiquitous computing and computing infrastructure. Dr. Friedman is currently working on multi-lifespan information system design and on methods for envisioning – imagining new ideas for leveraging information systems to shape our futures. Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal is an early project in this multi-lifespan information system design program. In 2012 Batya Friedman received the ACM-SIGCHI Social Impact Award and the University Faculty Lecturer award at the University of Washington. She received both her B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Batya Friedman (
Value Sensitive Design Research Lab (
UW Tech Policy Lab (
Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal (
Envisioning Cards (
Security Cards (

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