Day 2: “Societal Computing” Keynote by Nicolas Christin

Societal Computing to address societal issues and create technologies that impact society

On the second day, everything was ready to launch another day of discussion and networking! Nicolas Christin, Professor in Engineering and Public Policy, Software and Societal Systems at CMU started with a Keynote on “Societal Computing,” focusing on the importance for computer scientists to study the societal impacts of their work to prevent (or at least limit) the undesirable use of the new technologies and ensure they are used to improve our lives.

Nicholas Christin, CMU

Abstract: Computing affects every single facet of our daily lives—computing devices are not only embedded in most of our home appliances, but algorithms also influence the news we see, the places we visit and stay at, the products we buy, and so forth. As such, the discipline of computing has considerably expanded from its computer science core. We argue that it is important for us computer scientists to also study the societal impacts of our work, so that we can prevent (or at least limit) the undesirable use of the new technologies we develop, while simultaneously ensuring they improve our lives. In this talk, I will first discuss our vision for tackling these challenges, that we have implemented as a Societal Computing PhD program at Carnegie Mellon. I will then turn to an example of Societal Computing research my own group has been tackling: building a world-wide censorship measurement infrastructure to distinguish between covert and overt censorship.

Nicolas Christin is a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, jointly appointed in the School of Computer Science (Software and Societal Systems Department) and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Virginia, and was a post-doc at UC Berkeley prior to joining Carnegie Mellon in 2005. His research interests are in computer and information systems security.

Watch the Keynote III :