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Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence: Trusted, Reliable and Safe

October 30, 2019 - 12:00pm
Gates Building, Room 104


Ben Shneiderman

Emeritus Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (, and a Member of the UM Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) at the University of Maryland.  He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, and NAI, and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, in recognition of his pioneering contributions to human-computer interaction and information visualization. His widely-used contributions include the clickable highlighted web-links, high-precision touchscreen keyboards for mobile devices, and tagging for photos.  Shneiderman’s information visualization innovations include dynamic query sliders for Spotfire, development of treemaps for viewing hierarchical data, novel network visualizations for NodeXL, and event sequence analysis for electronic health records.
Ben is the co-author with Catherine Plaisant of Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (6th ed., 2016).  He co-authored Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think (1999) and Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL (2nd edition, 2019).  His book Leonardo’s Laptop (MIT Press) won the IEEE book award for Distinguished Literary Contribution. The New ABCs of Research: Achieving Breakthrough Collaborations (Oxford, 2016) describes how research can produce higher impacts.


The next generation of user experiences will produce 1000-fold improvements in human capabilities.  This new tools will amplify, augment, enhance, and empower people, just as the Web, email, search, navigation, digital photography, and many other applications have already done. Rather than emphasize autonomous machines and humanoid robots as team partners, these new tools will produce comprehensible, predictable, and controllable applications that promote self-efficacy, human responsibility, and social participation at scale.  The goal is to ensure human control, while increasing the level of automation. 
Improved designs that produce trusted, reliable, and safe (TRS) systems will build on successful direct manipulation guidelines that provide a visual display of the objects of interest, rapid, incremental, and reversible operations, with informative feedback for every user action. Elevators, thermostats, airbags, text messaging systems, and the 737 MAX provide positive and negative lessons, in charting the landscape of autonomy and control.  Design guidelines and independent oversight mechanisms for prospective design reviews and retrospective analyses of failures will clarify the role of human responsibility, even as automation increases.  


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