Tuesday, September 18, 2018
In the School of Interactive Computing, we are all about – you guessed it – interaction. From investigating the ways in which computing impacts humans on a daily basis to the way we as a school interact with industry and academic community through our research, we believe we are better for our ability to collaborate, discuss, and find solutions for life’s big issues. Here from School Chair Ayanna Howard as she details our goals for this podcast and how you, the listener, can get involved.
David Mitchell: Hi, I'm David Mitchell. I'm the communications officer for the School of Interactive Computing, and I'm here today with Dr. Ayanna Howard, the school chair for the School of Interactive Computing. I wanted to talk with her today about a very special project we're putting together here in the school, soon to launch in September. Why don't you tell everybody about that?
Ayanna Howard: Yeah, so I'm excited about this. We have a podcast called the Interaction Hour. What we want to do is we really want to explain to individuals about the things that might terrify them about technology in the world. So, why is this? Every week, I get an email from someone, usually a reporter, that there's a story that's breaking. Whether that's self-driving cars killing people or, you know, recognition algorithms that are telling congressman they should go to jail. And I get these calls, and I have faculty that are doing research in these exact areas.
So, I pair them up. And I thought, you know what, I think the public has a right to know what's going on from the point of view of the ones who are working on this technology.
David Mitchell: So, as I'm sure everybody will know, I'm not the technology expert here, right? So, I won't be the host of the show. You'll be hosting the show with our faculty. What is it about faculty? What is it about this school that allows us to be able to tackle so many various issues? I mean, there's a range of issues facing the technological world today. Why is this school the right place for this?
Ayanna Howard: So, our faculty, besides the fact that they're awesome -- the emphasis of the faculty and the school is on the human experience of computing. What does that mean? It means that when our faculty think about even machine learning or artificial intelligence or robotics or big data, they are always thinking about the human as part of the system, which is very unique. It means that they're not just great technologists designing great algorithms, but they're great technologists designs algorithms for and with people.
David Mitchell: So, this podcast is going to take an interesting format. We're starting initially with a handful of episodes that we've handpicked on pressing topics that we think everybody will be very interested in. After that, we're leaving it up to the public. We want to know what questions the public has in this space. Explain how we're going to go about doing this.
Ayanna Howard: Yeah, so, really, this podcast is about the public and society. And the topics that we're choosing are the ones that are in the media right now, so they're basically hot topic, hot buttons for people. But, this is the public's show, right? This isn't the IC show. We're just the experts, and this is really about the public. So, we're going to take it on the road. We're going to go to football games, and when we go to conference travels and when we're in different cities, we're going to ask and we're going to set up and ask people on the street, "Hey, you know, what's bothering you today about what's going on in technology in the world?" And, guess what, we can probably figure out and find someone in the school that can answer.
David Mitchell: So, we have our social media channels, and we're obviously going to engage with people that way too. That's another avenue to get the questions, get some of the topics that people are really interested in. So, why don't you tell everybody where they can find us on social media right now.
Ayanna Howard: You can find us and you can follow our show, subscribe to the show, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @ICatGT.
David Mitchell: That's Dr. Ayanna Howard, school chair for the School of Interactive Computing, and keep an eye out. We're going to have this podcast to you beginning in September. That will be our first episode -- first two episodes, it's a two-part episode, we had such a good discussion. Look for it on social media. Thanks for talking with me today, Ayanna.
Ayanna Howard: Thank you.