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Past Events

Making Art with AI: Tool, Collaborator, or Competitor?

Monday, May 9, 2022, 4-6 p.m. CDT
Delivered via Zoom

Proponents of artificial intelligence (AI) say that this is the dawn of a new age of AI-created art. Tools such as Dall-E-2 create impressive visual images, given just a few words as a prompt. AI song-writing competitions demonstrate the intersection of machine learning and music. Authors are exploring deep language models, like GPT-3, in the storytelling and creative writing process.

To shed light on whether AI is best thought of as a tool, a collaborator in the artistic process, or perhaps even a competitor to human artists, the Northwestern University Center for Human-Computer Interaction + Design (HCI+D) is bringing together a panel to discuss the implications of today’s AI models for generative artmaking.

Industry Panel: Grand Challenges in Human Computer Interaction + Design

Thursday, November 4, 2021, 4-5 p.m. CDT
Delivered via Zoom

Join us for an event with industry leaders to understand the grand challenges in industry, the skills required to address these challenges, and how academia and industry might work together to address these challenges.


Mark Diaz
Research Scientist on the Ethical AI team, Google

Emily Harburg
Director of Emerging Technology and Innovation, EF Education First

Isaac Johnson
Research Scientist, Wikimedia Foundation

Lauren Scissors
Director of Research at Facebook

Prem Seetharaman
Research Scientist, Descript

HCI + Design Thought Leaders Lecture: How Should People Relate to Artificial Intelligence?

Thursday, April 29, 4-5 pm CDT
Delivered via Zoom

Join Northwestern’s Center for Human-Computer Interaction + Design (HCI+D) for an engaging conversation about how we can partner with machines to think and talk about data to uncover truths and tell never-before-told stories.  Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg will present their group’s human-centered research and design work aiming to make people-centered AI partnerships productive, enjoyable, and fair.

Talk abstract: “Participatory Machine Learning” - How should people relate to artificial intelligence technology? Is it a tool to be used, a partner to be consulted, or even a source of inspiration? As technology advances, choosing the right human / AI relationship will become an increasingly important question for designers, technologists, and users. We will show a series of examples from the People+AI Research (PAIR) initiative at Google--ranging from data visualizations and tools for medical practitioners to guidelines for designers--that illustrate how AI can play each of these roles. But how do we decide which role is right for a given situation? Our answer rests on the idea of broadening participation in the construction, use, and evaluation of this technology.

Speaker Bios: Fernanda Viégas and Martin M. Wattenberg are pioneers in data visualization and analytics who have built systems used daily by millions of people throughout the world. As leaders of Google’s PAIR (People+AI Research) initiative, they work on new ways for people to explore and understand data. Their work has also been exhibited in venues such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, London Institute of Contemporary Arts, and the Whitney Museum of America Art. Fernanda Viégas is a Brazilian scientist and was named as one of the most influential women in technology by Fast Company. Martin Wattenberg, as a director of R&D at Dow Jones, created some of the early digital journalism technology and his visualization of stock markets and baby names are considered Internet classics. Their work has been featured in outlets including Fast Company,The Economist,,Boston Globe, and The New York Times

The Hierarchy of Knowledge In Machine Learning and Related Fields and Its Consequences

Monday, April 5th, 12:00pm-1:00pm
Delivered via Zoom

ABSTRACT: 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 this view has resulted in a hierarchy of knowledge in machine learning and related fields, devaluing some types of work and knowledge (e.g. those related to data production, annotation, and collection practices) and mostly amplifying specific types of contributions. This hierarchy also results in valuing contributions from some disciplines (e.g. Physics) more than others (e.g. race and gender studies). With examples from my own life, education, and current work, I discuss how this knowledge hierarchy limits the field and potential ways forward.

BIO: Until she recently got fired, Timnit Gebru co-led the Ethical Artificial Intelligence research team at Google, working to reduce the potential negative impacts of AI. Timnit earned her doctorate under the supervision of Fei-Fei Li at Stanford University in 2017 and did a postdoc at Microsoft Research NYC in the FATE team. She is also the co-founder of Black in AI, a place for sharing ideas, fostering collaborations, and discussing initiatives to increase the presence of Black people in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

Closing the Sensing-to-Intervention Loop for Behavioral Health

Tuesday, March 2nd at Noon to 1 pm, Central Time
Delivered via Zoom

Tanzeem Choudhury is the Roger and Joelle Burnell Professor in Integrated Health and Technology at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech in Information Sciences and a co-founder of HealthRhythms Inc. She obtained her bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester and her master’s and Ph.D. from the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in 2004. Professor Choudhury has been at Cornell since 2011 and joined Cornell Tech in 2019. At Cornell, Tanzeem directs the People-Aware Computing group, which works on inventing the future of technology-assisted wellbeing.  Prior to Cornell, she was a member of the computer science faculty at Dartmouth and worked at Intel Research. She is a recipient of the MIT Technology Review TR35 award, NSF CAREER award, and a TED Fellowship.

Interactive Machine Teaching: Concepts and Lessons

Wednesday, January 27, 12-1 p.m., CST
Delivered over Zoom

Hosted by Latin@CS
Join Gonzalo Ramos as he speaks on how Machine Learning (ML) can infuse systems with behaviors that rival or surpass human capabilities. This promise of creating systems that can empower people and organizations is met with the friction that creating ML models remains a complex task beyond the reach of non-ML experts. In this talk, I will describe Interactive Machine Teaching and its potential to simplify the creation of ML models. One of the key characteristics of IMT is its iterative process in which the human-in-the-loop takes the role of a teacher teaching a machine how to perform a task, and that the teacher does not need expertise about the underlying ML learning algorithm. After this introduction, I will summarize our insights and lessons from our research in this field, and what promising research directions lie ahead.

Click Here for Details

Designing Digital Mental Health Interventions and their Integration into Health Care Settings

Thursday, January 21, 4-5 p.m., CST
Delivered via Zoom

Join us while we host and welcome Dr. Andrea Graham (Feinberg School of Medicine) to talk about her research on the use and evaluation of online and mobile technologies for screening, prevention, and the treatment of eating disorders and obesity.

Abstract: Mental health problems affect nearly 20% of U.S. adults each year, lead to significant impairment, and bear high health care costs. Yet fewer than half of those with mental health needs receive treatment, with significant variation in unmet treatment need by geographic region. U.S. health care systems are tasked with alleviating the burden of mental health, but are frequently under-prepared and lack workforce and resource capacity to deliver services to all in need. Digital mental health interventions (DMHIs) can increase access to evidence-based mental health care. However, DMHIs commonly do not fit into the day-to-day activities of the people who engage with them, resulting in a research-to-practice gap for DMHI implementation. For health care settings, differences between digital and traditional mental health services make alignment and integration challenges. Specialized attention is needed to improve the implementation of DMHIs in health care settings so that these services yield high uptake, engagement, and sustainment. In this presentation, I will share two lines of research to design and implement DMHIs in health care settings: a DMHI for depression and anxiety, and a DMHI for binge eating and weight management. I will show how the design process has been used in this work, and how it adds value to clinical research on digital health technologies.

HCI + Design Thought Leaders Lecture: Pluriversal Design/h3>

Friday, December 4, 1-2 p.m., CST
Delivered via Zoom

Join Northwestern’s Center for Human-Computer Interaction + Design (HCI+D) for an engaging conversation about the past, present, and future of design. Over the last 10 months, the Beyond Computers and Cognition group has met weekly to discuss pluriversal design. Moderated by Northwestern University Professor Elizabeth Gerber, this panel will share their similar and differing perspectives and a call to action for the design community.

Aiming to develop the future of human and computer interaction, the HCI+D Center draws upon the University’s pioneering leadership in interaction and design research, leveraging Northwestern’s history of research among diverse disciplines — including communication, computer science, design, learning sciences, engineering, medicine, and psychology.

Learn more about the HCI+D Center on its website.

Click Here for the Recording.

Click here for a Transcript.


Arturo Escobar
Author of Designs for Pluriverse; professor emeritus of anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Fernando Flores
Co-author of Understanding Computers and Cognition; founder of Pluralistic Networks

Don Norman
Author of The Design of Everyday Things; professor emeritus of computer science, Northwestern Engineering; co-founder, Segal Design Institute and master’s Engineering Design Innovation program; founding and current director of the Design Lab, University of California, San Diego

B. Scot Rousse
Director of research at Pluralistic Networks, visiting scholar at University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D. in philosophy from Northwestern University

Terry Winograd
Author of Bringing Design to Software; co-author of Understanding Computers and Cognition; professor emeritus of computer science, Stanford University

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