Expanding the Horizons of Human-Centered AI

Neha Kumar
ACM Future of Computing Academy
5 min readJun 1, 2019


This is the title of the summer school that will take place this coming monsoon season in New Delhi, India, from July 24 to July 27. The venue will be the glorious India Habitat Centre in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi.

Motivated by the growing attention that advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are receiving, alongside the challenges around inequity, fairness, and bias, among others, which are also surfacing, we recognize the need for the next generation of human-computer interaction (HCI) and AI students, researchers, and practitioners to develop a stronger awareness of the potential of AI—what it entails for today’s world, and how one might make informed choices regarding tomorrow’s. Academia and industry have both shown an increased interest in making the world of AI more human-centered, with endlessly stimulating discussions around what these human-centered facets might entail.

The purpose of this summer school is to support current and future HCI researchers who are drawn to work on/with AI-related research and/or products. Our goals include understanding the challenges and opportunities that human-centered AI (HCAI) presents us with, as well as how this understanding might help us move forward in our various domains of operations. Through inclusion of a wide range of research/practice focus areas, we aim to ensure that our conversations stay rooted in targeting real-world impact.

The desired outcomes of this event include articulated plans for collaboration in the future towards HCAI partnerships and publications, as well as expansion of the HCI community across India. Attendees will benefit in a variety of ways, by connecting with others who have similar interests and across different peripheral communities, developing a grounding in using different research and design methods which might be useful for addressing questions in various application areas such as health, education, agriculture, among others, and putting together an agenda for future work in this realm.

For the HCI discipline, we hope the benefits will include more and stronger scholarship from a diverse set of scholars, likely to make us a more inclusive HCI community overall. In addition, little attention thus far has been directed to research in the realm of Human-Centered AI, or AI and Social Good, and it is an area in which HCI is well-positioned to make a significant impact. Throughout, our intent will be to step away from western-centric discourses around AI, and we urge our participants to do the same. By “expanding the horizons”, we mean geographic, disciplinary, conceptual, and several other kinds of horizons that we hope to identify during our four days together.

Now for the specifics. There will be four modules, each lasting one entire day. The information below will be updated as more speakers confirm and the topics take shape. For now, this is our tentative schedule:

Day 1: HCI + AI = HCAI
The focus of this day will be on articulating the scope within which HCI researchers, practitioners, educators, and entrepreneurs might play a role towards improved understanding, design, use, and evaluation of AI-based technologies and technology interactions. Speakers include Rosa Arriaga (Georgia Tech, USA), Naveen Bagalkot (Srishti School of Design & Technology, Bangalore), Mohit Jain (University of Washington & IBM Research, Bangalore), and Danish Contractor (IBM Research, New Delhi & FCA).

Day 2: Human-Centered Machine Learning
The focus of this day will be on human-centered machine learning (ML). In a world where ML brings us to rethink and consider new possibilities for our everyday contexts, we will learn how ML can stay grounded in human needs to make an impact in problem areas that it is well-positioned to address. Speakers include Munmun De Choudhury (Georgia Tech, USA), Amit Sharma (Microsoft Research, Bangalore), and Kalika Bali (Microsoft Research, Bangalore). We will conclude the day with a design session with volunteers from MakerGhat (a non-profit makerspace in Mumbai) on “Empowering the Next Generation with AI”.

Day 3: AI & Social Good
There is a growing focus on seeing AI make its way into application areas of social good, such as those defined by the UN’s sustainable development goals. We will discuss what novelty AI brings to these domains and examine how it is currently being used in some. Speakers include Aaditeshwar Seth (IIT Delhi and Gram Vaani), Jerome White (Wadhwani Institute for AI, Mumbai), and Jacki O’Neill (Microsoft Research, Bangalore). We will conclude the day with a design session with volunteers from Haiyya (a women’s advocacy group in New Delhi) on “What makes a safe space?”.

Day 4: Critical Perspectives on HCAI
Our last day will focus on cultivating critical perspectives on human-centered AI. With challenges around fairness, bias, and ethical implications of AI surfacing on an almost daily basis, we will learn ways in which we can start to critically question the world that we see unfolding around us. Speakers currently include Tapan Parikh (Cornell University), Janaki Srinivasan (International Institute for Information Technology, Bangalore), Divy Thakkar (Google, India), and Urvashi Aneja (Tandem Research).

Apply here. Applications received by June 15 will receive highest priority, but later applications may also be considered if there is room. We will aim to notify by June 20. We have limits on the numbers our venue can hold, so we encourage interested individuals to apply early. Registration opens June 20. Early registration ends July 3, after which the fee is likely to increase. Participation is by application only.

The early registration fee will be INR 4K per day, and INR 10K for attending the entire event. Food and beverages will be provided through the day. We have travel scholarships available, which can be requested in the application form. For accommodation, hostel and guest house rooms in IIIT-Delhi will be available at nominal rates. A few rooms at the India Habitat Centre have also been blocked (at INR 8K per day). More information on booking these will be available by June 20. Outside of these options, we encourage participants to identify their own means of stay; the venue is centrally located and easily accessible via public transportation. Email expandinghcai@gmail.com for additional information.

This is an HCI Across Borders event sponsored by ACM SIGCHI and in cooperation with the ACM Future of Computing Academy. It is hosted by the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology in Delhi. The organizers are Neha Kumar (Georgia Tech & FCA) and Pushpendra Singh (IIIT-Delhi).



Neha Kumar
ACM Future of Computing Academy

Associate Prof at Georgia Tech; SIGCHI President