SICSA DVF: Professor Justine Cassell

Date(s) - 20/05/2016
11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Informatics Forum

We are pleased to confirm that Professor Justine Cassell, Associate Dean of Technology Strategy and Impact in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University will be giving a talk on Modeling Dyadic Phenomena in Conversational Agents at the Informatics Forum on Friday 20 May.

In this talk I propose a particular computational sociocultural approach to the study of the so-called “social emotions” – intrinsically dyadic states such as rapport, friendship, intimacy, interpersonal closeness. I rely on this approach to describe the surface level observable verbal and nonverbal behaviors that function to evoke, deepen, demonstrate, and destroy these dyadic social emotions. I highlight the need for differentiating the observable behaviors from inferable underlying states by demonstrating how putatively negative visible behaviors may play a positive role in underlying states. Finally, I describe some important roles that these often discounted aspects of human behavior play in learning, commercial transactions, and other facets of day-to-day life. Each step of this talk is illustrated by experiments that involve human-human and human-computer interaction. I include novel approaches to modeling and generating behaviors for human-computer interaction on the basis of the human-human corpora. And finally, lessons are drawn both for the study of human behavior, and the improved design of technologies capable of engaging in interaction with people over the long-term.

Justine Cassell is Associate Dean of Technology Strategy and Impact in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, and Director Emerita of the Human Computer Interaction Institute. She is also co-director of CMU’s new Simon Initiative on Technology-Enhanced Learning, and co-director of the Yahoo-CMU InMind collaboration to build the next generation mobile assistant. Cassell was on the faculty at Northwestern University from 2003 to 2010 where she was the founding director of the Center for Technology and Social Behavior and the joint PhD in Technology and Social Behavior. Before that, she was a tenured professor at the MIT Media Lab. Cassell received the Edgerton Prize at MIT, is an ACM and CRA Distinguished Lecturer, was honored in 2008 with the “Women of Vision” award from the Anita Borg Institute, in 2011 was named to the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Robotics and Smart Devices (which she chaired from 2011-2014), and in 2012 was named a fellow of the AAAS. Cassell has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos every year since 2012.  Cassell’s current research examines the role of sociocultural factors in technology-enhanced learning and other kinds of collaborative tasks with computers.

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