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Keynote by Wendy Mackay

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Thursday, 16. June (Day 2)
Creating Human-Computer Partnerships
Despite incredible advances in hardware, much of today’s software remains stuck in assumptions that date back to the 1970s. As software becomes ever more ‘intelligent’, users often find themselves in a losing battle, unable to explain what they really want. Their role can easily shift from generating new content to correcting or putting up with the system’s errors. This is partly due to the assumptions from AI that treat human users primarily as a source of data for their algorithm—the so-called “human-in-the-loop”— while traditional Human-Computer Interaction practitioners focus on creating the “user experience” with simple icon and menu interfaces, without considering the details of the user’s interaction with an intelligent system. I argue that we need to develop methods for creating human-computer partnerships that take advantage of advances in machine learning, but also leave the user in control. I illustrate how we use generative theory, especially instrumental interaction and reciprocal co-adaptation, to create interactive intelligent systems that are discoverable, appropriable and expressive. Our goal is to design robust interactive systems that augment rather than replace human capabilities, and are actually worth learning over time.
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