Terry Winograd : 2010 Plenary Session


Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Location: Fisher Conference Center, Arrillaga Alumni Center

"Liberation Technology: Designing with Mobile Technologies in the Developing World"


There are now some four billion mobile phone subscriptions globally. This penetration of mobile technology has extended into low income countries, with 400 million subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa. The remarkable pace of adoption has far exceeded all expectations. The resulting reduction in the costs of supplying and receiving information has prompted a remarkable proliferation of creative ideas about new applications, in economic development, health, banking, education, and accountable governance. I will discuss some of the approaches that are especially promising, and describe our design course in the d.school at Stanford, in which we are working with Nokia and the University of Nairobi designing applications for health in Kenya.


Terry Winograd is Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, where he co-directs the Human-Computer Interaction Group and the teaching and research program in Human-Computer Interaction Design. He is also a founding faculty member of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford and of the Program on Liberation Technology at CDDRL. He is an advisor to a number of companies, including Google, a company founded by Stanford students from his projects.

His early research on natural language understanding by computers (SHRDLU) was the basis for two books and numerous articles. "Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design" (Addison-Wesley, 1987, co-authored with Fernando Flores), took a critical look at work in artificial intelligence and suggested new directions for the integration of computer systems into human activity. He edited "Bringing Design to Software"(Addison-Wesley, 1996), which introduced a design thinking approach into the design of human-computer systems.

He is currently developing courses and research in applying mobile communication technologies to improving access to health care in the developing world, including a course this Spring in conjunction with the University of Nairobi and Nokia Research Center Africa.

Winograd was a founding member of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, of which he is a past national president. He is on the editorial board of several journals, including Human-Computer Interaction, ACM Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction, and Information Technology, and People. He was elected to the ACM CHI Academy in 2003 and became an ACM Fellow in 2010.