Prof James Herbsleb, Carnegie Mellon
Title: The New Discipline of Societal ComputingAbstract
: Computing technology is changing us. We are creating a computational environment that is shaping our society. It is increasingly urgent to ask: are these the changes we want? Commercial interests and governments build technologies to serve their immediate business needs and policy objectives, but it is difficult to assess their larger impacts and unintended consequences. The discipline of societal computing asks this central question: How can we design computing technologies to address societal needs and concerns, and how can we assess and guide the design, implementation and deployment of new computing technologies as they appear? The discipline is built around a set of impact areas where society and technology intersect, including data privacy, technological autonomy, and algorithmic mediation of information access. It studies these areas using a variety of analytic approaches, including machine learning, statistics, and network analysis. Brief bio
: James Herbsleb is a Professor in the Institute for Software Research in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, where he serves as Director of the PhD program in Societal Computing http://sc.cs.cmu.edu/ . His research interests lie primarily in the intersection of software engineering, computer-supported cooperative work, and socio-technical systems, focusing most recently on large-scale open source ecosystems. He holds a PhD in psychology, an MS in computer science, and a Juris Doctor degree. His research has won several best paper, distinguished paper, and most influential paper awards. He was recently awarded the SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award in 2016, and previously the Alan Newell Award for Research Excellence in 2014. For about two decades, he has worked with colleagues and students to understand the complex and dynamic relationship between human collaboration and the software that humans design and use.