CS Colloquium: Evan Peck

April 18, 2024 Add to Calendar 4:15–5:15 p.m.

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Morgan McArdle


“Good for Scientists, Bad for Society: Why won’t data change our minds?”

Despite incredible scientific and technological advances, our data is not convincing people to change their behavior at a scale needed to overcome pressing societal challenges, whether that involves responding to pandemics or our changing climate. Evan Peck will trace how his work in data visualization has shifted to address the deeply socio-technical nature of these problems, from running large-scale technical interventions to conducting interviews in rural Pennsylvania about data. Peck's current research explores how we can redesign the way we communicate information to meet communities where they are now, and examines how our implicit beliefs about their location, access to technology and experiences undermine our collective ability to respond to data. He’ll share a new framing of human-data interaction, one that creates friction with visualization’s historic emphasis on efficiency, universality and objectivity, and one that resonates with calls-to-action in responsible computing and AI.

Evan Peck is an associate professor of information science at CU Boulder. His research spans information visualization and human-computer interaction and focuses on reimagining the processes and tools we use to share data with more diverse communities. Prior to joining CU 2023, Peck was an associate professor of CS at Bucknell University where he was (and still is!) an advocate for primarily undergraduate institutions, and advanced the integration of responsible computing into core programming curriculum. He was a visiting scientist at MIT (2021–2022), and received his PhD in computer science from Tufts University (2014). For a recent article on Peck’s work, see #TechEthics, by CU’s CMCI Now Magazine.