Skip to main content

Talk "Agency + Automation"

Jeffrey Heer (University of Washington/Trifacta)

September 17th 2019, 11:00-12:30

MA 004

Straße des 17. Juni 136, 10623




Agency + Automation – BBDC talk by Jeffrey Heer

On 17th September, the Berlin Big Data Center (BBDC) invited to a talk held by the US data science expert Prof. Jeffrey Heer, entitled “Agency + Automation”,  located at TU Berlin.

The automation of an increasing range of tasks – that are currently fulfilled by humans - creates opportunities as well as social challenges. Still, Artificial Intelligence does not only bear the chance of replacing human labor, but can also function to assist and enrich people’s intellectual work. Prof. Heer’s talk was focusing on this generally underrepresented aspect of AI’s prospects. How can interactive systems be designed to enable rich, adaptive collaboration among people and computational agents instead of just replacing them? Prof. Heer  emphasized on the importance of human control and skillful action instead of a reduction of human influence by such systems. To illustrate current possibilities, he presented three case studies centering around the incorporation of computational support into interactive systems in data wrangling, exploratory visualization, and natural language translation. Another point of interest was the joint presentation of tasks whose values increase due to models predicting human capabilities and limitations.




Jeffrey Heer is the Jerre D. Noe Endowed Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he directs the Interactive Data Lab and conducts research on data visualization, human-computer interaction, and social computing. The visualization tools developed by Jeff and his collaborators (Vega, D3.js, Protovis, Prefuse) are used by researchers, companies, and thousands of data enthusiasts around the world. Jeff's research papers have received awards at the premier venues in Human-Computer Interaction and Visualization (ACM CHI, ACM UIST, IEEE InfoVis, IEEE VAST, EuroVis). Other honors include MIT Technology Review's TR35 (2009), a Sloan Fellowship (2012), an Allen Distinguished Investigator Award (2014), a Moore Foundation Data-Driven Discovery Investigator Award (2014), and the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award (2016). Jeff holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, whom he then "betrayed" to join the Stanford faculty (2009–2013). He is also a co-founder of Trifacta, a provider of interactive tools for scalable data transformation.