a new degree for licklider’s world
In the 1960s, J.C.R. Licklider de- scribed his vision for the future of computing, which is remark- ably like today’s world. He saw computing as augmenting human
intelligence, 1 and for communications
among communities. 2 He foresaw
cloud computing and the Semantic Web.
Licklider’s background was different than
many of the early computer scientists. He
was not an electrical engineer or primarily a mathematician—his degrees
were mostly in psychology.
To predict today’s world took a combination of computing and psychology.
It is not surprising that understanding
today’s world of ubiquitous computing requires a blend of computing
and social science. The phenomena
of social computing are not primarily
about technology. What is interesting
about our modern computing milieu is
the blend of technology, humans, and
community. Human-centered computing is a new subdiscipline of computer
science that prepares students for
studying our socio-technical world.
Georgia Tech, Clemson University,
and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County all offer graduate degrees
in Human-Centered Computing (HCC).
Students in Georgia Tech’s HCC Ph.D.
program work in areas like human-computer interaction (HCI), learning
sciences and technologies, and cognitive science and AI. They use methods
from social and behavioral sciences as
well as engineering. While HCI focuses
on the boundary (the interactions) be-
tween computing and humans, HCC
places humans (as individuals and in
societies) at the center of the research.
HCC might lead to designs for new
software, but it can also help us to
understand what emerges from the world
that Licklider predicted.
Georgia Tech’s HCC degree pro-
gram prepares students to design tech-
nology, to understand humans and
societies, and to study what emerges
when that technology is ubiquitous.
HCC at Georgia Tech has a core of three
courses. The foundational course gives
students theories that can be applied
to understand human behavior with
technology. The technology course en-
sures all HCC students can build pro-
totypes of interactive systems to dem-
onstrate their ideas. The third course
ties together the threads to establish
research themes. An annual seminar