Grand Challenges in HCI

In the midst of processing comments on ‘chi-paper17-V49-sh‘, I found myself staring out the window and pondering about the work we were writing up. Every year, we go through the same process of pushing our research into CHI 2017 or other conferences in an attempt to… do what? Make an impact? Push the state of the art? Impress other researchers? Change the world? It’s hard to assess whether our individual stones in the pond actually create a ripple that makes a differences.

Last week I attended an amazing symposium organized by some of my colleagues at UCLIC around grand challenges in Human-Computer Interaction. It turned out to be a pretty big event with more than 120 people attending, and really interesting speakers, panel and coffee-break discussions around the grand challenges in HCI. As a relatively newcomer in HCI (I’ve only started publishing in 2012), this was a very interesting day. There are so many different angles, topics and approaches within one field that one often loses track of what is happening, but also how to best move forward in our own research. This symposium was organized to start a longer dialogue and discussion on how to move the field forward and address some of the big challenges within HCI but also society at large. The program started with an amazing lineup of speakers who all gave insightful and inspiring talks about their perspective on whatever ‘grand challenges’ in HCI means to them (program and slides). What was really interesting about these talks was the enormous diversity in what these speakers considered “grand challenges”.

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