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Interviews: Ask Juan Gilbert About Human-Centered Computing

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.

Education 30

Awarded the first Presidential Endowed Chair at Clemson University, and being named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), are just a couple of Juan Gilbert's more noteworthy honors. Juan is the Associate Chair of Research in the Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department at the University of Florida where he leads the Human Centered Computing Lab. With the help of students, the lab works on a variety of issues, including electronic voting, automotive user interfaces, advanced learning technologies, culturally relevant computing or ethnocomputing, and databases and data analytics. Dr. Gilbert has agreed to answer any questions you might have about computing and affecting society through accessible technologies. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

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When you say human centered (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47416527)

You don't mean me with a 360 degree ring of computers around myself, right? Just want to make sure no one's spying on me in my basement.

Re:When you say human centered (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47416731)

Even if you heat it to 360 degrees celsius, you still cannot destroy THE RING, only in mount doom.

Re:When you say human centered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47419121)

I misread the headline as "Ask Juan Gilbert About Human Centipede Computing".

Lies! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47416573)

But normal humans can't do computing. The self-diagnosed aspie ass clown in this [slashdot.org] story even said so!

meh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47416741)

! where meh = "me from ancient mew kitten combined with h of horse pocky in a blender0"
* global warm meh
* electronic votin meh
* bankster meh
* UN a21 sustain meh
* dopin of teh chip0rz us0red in teh bvoting electrocutions meh
* chain of custody fromUr teh chip0rz facktzionories meh
* chip stained corporate med[ia] meh
* pwn3d cannel meh
* price of gold in your fscking hand meh
* gun control while the borders are over run meh
* isis taking spain and europe meh
* PM son of russia 4 snowed-in meh
where ya wanna go and where ya wanna stop?!

Internet Voting ?!! (3)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | about 7 months ago | (#47416837)

Here are some questions for Professor Gilbert, regarding internet voting:

1. How will non-mathematicians know with certainty that votes have been properly received and counted?

2. If the security depends upon encryption, how will we know that encryption has not been broken by a secret agency with vast computing power? Further, how will we know that those involved in developing the encryption have not secretly offered back doors to such agencies, as has happened in the past?

3. What will a voter do if they experience an election-day denial of service attack?

4. How can we know that a vote has not been coerced if the voter votes from home (bullying spouse, etc...)?

5. What are the insurmountable difficulties with a paper-based election process that make internet voting desirable despite risks? Why is the United States no longer capable of counting cast ballots in public? It is clearly not the vast number of voters, since this is a distributed problem with a vast number of potential counters. What has become so broken among our pseudo-elites that this KISS approach is now considered so inappropriate?

would mod up if I could... (2)

Chirs (87576) | about 7 months ago | (#47416925)

It seems to me that we want to simultaneously be able to prove to the voter that their vote was counted properly, while also wanting to ensure that the voter cannot prove to someone else that they voted a certain way (to prevent buying/coercing votes).

Adding to this...how do you ensure that the person voting is who they say they are, and not another family member, care provider, guest, etc.?

Re:Internet Voting ?!! (1)

belthize (990217) | about 7 months ago | (#47417149)

but please, one question per post.

Here's a question for Gilbert.

How do you write human centered-systems for humans that can't follow simple instructions.

Re:Internet Voting ?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47417229)

> United States no longer capable of counting cast ballots in public

We still do in some places, but it still didn't prevent the Republicans that run the SCOTUS from deciding to not allow our elected President to become President. Instead, they selected someone we didn't elect. In Florida they handled the recounts in public, but that didn't stop the Republicans that rule us from dumping trash can full after trash can full of ballots in the trash IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA! They also played games where they refused to count the voter's intent. They also did that on camera.

Here in WA, the good political parties and the Republicans observe counting the mail in ballots. Of course fraud is stall rampant. Counting in public doesn't help when the Republicans throw away reasonable ballots before they are counted. My county has a web site you can use to prove that your vote was thrown away:


You just need a name and a DOB to check to see if someone voted. I checked more than two dozen friend's in 2012 election, and not a single friend's vote counted. I know mine has been thrown away every single time I've checked since 2007. The voting fraud by the Republicans here is out of control. It's so bad that they had a huge 28.5% of the Presidential vote in 2012. There's no fucking way. As the PI published, they couldn't find a single person here that voted for their kind. Why do we allow so much voter fraud that nearly 1 out of every three votes are a lie?

Re:Internet Voting ?!! (1)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | about 7 months ago | (#47417339)

If you know your legitimate vote was thrown away, you should be raising hell in more significant places than here. I'd start with the FBI and some journalism group like Pro Publica. It would be perfectly possible for a group with limited resources to get a substantial number of voters to check on whether their ballots were counted or tossed out, and they could show them to journalist witnesses before submitting them, to demonstrate that they were properly filled out.

The truth is, I don't believe you.

Re:Internet Voting ?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47417895)

Considering the national media covered Gore's votes being thrown away in FLA, you're full of crap. The FBI doesn't give a damn about voting fraud.

Re:Internet Voting ?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47419703)

Some kind of quantum link directly to brain with a controlled environment to avoid magnetic field manipulation.. In other words, the perfectness it is not practical yet.

Re:Internet Voting ?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47423383)

Do you think either party will have enough political will to make internet voting a reality? Winning in politics in large part is about who can play the game best, do you think the parties will let the rules change?

Re:Internet Voting ?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47425789)

I second the one about coerced voting. I have a difficult time imagining a system where people can cast votes from home without risk of either being coerced or selling their vote. Certainly people can be paid to vote a certain way currently, but the payer cannot verify that the payee indeed voted that way. That's why that hasn't become a significant problem. So I still think the answer is to broaden early voting and alternative polling sites, something which my state has backed away from since the legislature changed majority party. Is there a way to avoid the coercion/sellout problems?

Question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47416871)

Is slashdot dead?

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47423555)

I watched your TED talk [youtube.com] about multiple teacher single student learning. Has any further progress been made on the project or have you integrated it into any real-life schools?

Human Safety Computing (1)

mfh (56) | about 7 months ago | (#47416879)

To what extent are we able to compute safety related human dynamics issues and what is slowing us down in this particular programming area?

Can we ever come up with a safety system for a workplace that would be able to overcome employee buy-in issues early on, especially if the typical large corporation is in a constant tug of war with profit and employee needs?

You see whenever we introduce changes in policy in the workplace, employees assume they are going to be required to do MORE but they are not getting more money for the work so this tends at times to cause resistance from employees to safety policies. Management doesn't often understand the issues at hand so they tend to make contradictory safety policies as well, saying that things need to be addressed in a timely fashion.

But in the aftermath of this complexity, companies are often just faking safety in order to appear to be safe when in fact they are running at a significant moral hazard to everyone (their staff, the general public and anyone else for that matter).

This particular problem is of great interest to me and I find that whenever there is an imbalance between management and employee needs there is a systemic problem that is solvable but yet only once all the variables are on the table. The problem with human safety is that most of the variables are unknown.

The general equation for solving safety related issues is:

For every task an employee is required to do or will reasonably be presented with, the employee must be trained to perform the task safely within prescribed safety policy. This idea is fundamentally at odds with bravado in the workplace, hero complexes, profit margins and it goes directly against human psychopathy that is prevalent in modern corporate culture.

What's the best approach to stabilizing a safety model?

Touchy computer interfaces (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47416893)

Are computer interfaces getting finicky these days?

With mobile devices requiring a touch that must be
1. Precisely located when you can't see the target when touching it without transparent fingers,
2. Precisely timed in order to avoid being interpreted to mean exactly the opposite(long touch) of what is intended,
3. Perfectly still in all dimensions except the z axis to avoid being interpreted as moving the target instead of selecting it.

With mouse interfaces using "mouse-overs" to move, change, or otherwise obscure the original target.

With on-screen messages which go away in a huff if you don't react to them in some arbitrary amount of time.

Is the error rate of modern gui commands going up compared to older interfaces?

Why not fight against Internet voting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47416989)

The Republicans love it because they can continue their mass voting fraud scams more easily, so any sensible person should be against Internet voting. I know in the neighborhood where I live, not a single person here admitted to voting for the war criminal McCain in the 2008 eleciton according to a door to door survey that Univ of Washington did, but McCain got 16% of the votes according the fraudlent mail-in voting. Here in WA we vote by mail, and there is massive fraud. There is no way 16% of the people in my neighborhood are that stupid. That proves it is a scam.

Re:Why not fight against Internet voting? (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 7 months ago | (#47417045)

I believe you when you say that the 16% number is a scam, because if there were that many of those people around you then you would move! 16% is almost one out of every six people! If that was true then that means as you walk down the side walk, every sixth person you pass on average is one of those racist gun owners. That can't be true. Their kind is so violent and has so many guns that it is dangerous to live near them. In my neighbourhood, the HOA collected our mail-in ballots, and not a single person voted for a Republican for a national office. I live in a safe place. I can't believe the Republicans that rule here thing we believe that 16% garbage. They insult us by accusing us of voting for morons.

Re:Why not fight against Internet voting? (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about 6 months ago | (#47425905)

To those who modded this one: Whoosh!

"culturally relevant computing or ethnocomputing" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47417661)


Dear 'Juan', what in the Sam Hill IS "culturally relevant computing or ethnocomputing"? Is this computers designed for Africans - a kind of 'dumbed down' version, due to their lower IQ? LOL again.

Re:"culturally relevant computing or ethnocomputin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47423437)

I would guess most of us think that computers have existed at a time when much positive work on equality has been done. The internet is one place where it is fairly easy to be anonymous. Can you give an example of ethnocomputing concerns that aren't just economically or exposure to technology based?

Re:"culturally relevant computing or ethnocomputin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47423681)

You've said that you created the Application Quest [vice.com] program in response to the Michigan affirmative action rulings to help colleges keep diversity without giving preference to race. Are any colleges using the system or expressed interest? Have you had an backlash over your stance that the issue really isn't about race but about capacity?

Accessibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47423399)

How much impact will wearables have on the accessibility of technology to people with disabilities? A smart watch is a lot easier to move around with than a laptop. Do you think these smaller devices will have a big impact or is this just another fad?

Churn Rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47423467)

From what I can tell most of the work done at the Human Centered Computing Lab seems to be from students. Since this means a fairly quick churn rate does this make it harder to complete big projects or does the constant influx of new blood make up for that?

automotive interfaces (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about 6 months ago | (#47425917)

Most of the recent changes I've seen to driver controls seem wrong-headed. So many require the driver to look down at some screen or closely-spaced identically-feeling buttons. Only a few decades ago, car makers began moving functions to stalks to put them within easy reach, but the makers' usage is so different that it's more confusing than ever, particularly in this day when people are more likely to drive several different vehicles in a single day. I like steering wheel-mounted buttons, but now there are so many it has again become confusing, and again, makers refuse to adopt any standard placements/usage. Can we have programmable controls that follow a driver from car to car, always working the way that particular driver prefers? Must we resort to voice control? I despise talking to my car or any other device, including my phone. Is there no solution until cars can be controlled by thought?

Re:automotive interfaces (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about 6 months ago | (#47425927)

One question per post... OK, so, Where are automotive interfaces headed?

anonymous analytics (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about 6 months ago | (#47425953)

A few years ago I read that some were working on systems where people's personal data is never decrypted yet some types of analytics can be performed on it. Has this work died or is it still ongoing and does it lead to anything useful from a privacy perspective?

Perspectives on End-User Development (1)

TuringTest (533084) | about 6 months ago | (#47426891)

With today programming languages, creating new new software requires learning a complex syntax with very specialized rules on how to combine words, even for creating very simple software (for example, web pages with trivial interactions such as folding and dragging items).

Some approaches to allow end users to build automated behavior exist, but they can only go so far. There are "drag and drop" interface builders for building web pages with forms, and graph languages for transforming data. But they only allow reusing pre-defined components which are built with traditional languages. Any behavior not supported by those components can not be added to the program.

There are also rule-based visual systems like Agentsheets that allow defining new behaviors without a strict complex syntax, but those are difficult to reason about when behaviors depend on several levels of nested rules.

My question is: what would be your preferred approach to achieve the goal of allowing end users build their own simple software programs? This assumes that we define "program" in a loose way, not necessarily in the traditional way but referring to any software artifacts for defining repeatable processes to handle information such as:
* building and classifying collections of related data, transforming the shape of parts of a document...
* or for automation of actions in time (turning on and off lights and engines at particular times or in a pre-defined pattern, sending messages to groups of people that follow certain criteria under some triggering condition)...

All this without requiring that the user learns a scripting language or otherwise needs to form a mental model of how exactly the program's execution evolves in time within the machine components.

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