Program | Keynote Speakers

Opening Keynote

Mary Flanagan, Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College

Making a Difference In and Through Playful Design


Mary Flanagan

How can design (broadly thought) and creative thought in technology, “make a difference” empirically and conceptually from the point of view of design practice? In the world of social impact design, how do designers know if they have the right approach for the best outcomes? In this talk, Tiltfactor laboratory director and Dartmouth professor Mary Flanagan shares strategies for design, focusing on cooperative interactions and the unintended consequences of designers’ actions. Urging designers to ask big questions about where our technology is heading and how we might improve it from a social justice perspective, Flanagan offers actionable approaches to these questions through design examples and case studies of specific projects from her innovative game design work at


Mary Flanagan (@criticlaplay) -- founder of the Tiltfactor research lab as well as an artist, writer, and scholar -- will share recent research on how games can influence and change attitudes, opinions, and behaviors. Flanagan expands the boundaries of medium, discipline, and genre across writing, visual arts, computer science, psychology, and design to innovate in these fields with a critical play-centered approach. She is interested in collaboration, social impact, and creating paradigms for productive social interaction based on our inherent capacity for play-- while highlighting and prioritizing human values in the design of new technologies and systems.

As an artist, her collection of over 20 major works range from game-inspired systems to computer viruses, embodied interfaces to interactive texts; these works are exhibited internationally. As a scholar interested in how human values are in play across technologies and systems, Flanagan has written more than 20 critical essays and chapters on games, empathy, gender and digital representation, art and technology, and responsible design. Her recent books include Critical Play (2009, MIT Press) and Values at Play in Digital Games with Helen Nissenbaum (2014, MIT Press). Flanagan’s work has been supported by grants and commissions including The British Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the ACLS, and the National Science Foundation. Flanagan is the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College.


Closing Keynote

Patrick Meier, Director of Social Innovation at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI)

Next Generation Humanitarian Computing


Patrick Meier

Humanitarian organizations are completely unprepared to deal with the rise of Big (Crisis) Data--the massive overflow of user-generated content posted on social media during disasters. To be sure, humanitarian organizations have no expertise in advanced computing. At the same time, the overflow of information during disasters can be as paralyzing to humanitarian response as the absence of information. This talk will highlight how the computing community can make a significant difference in humanitarian response. To demonstrate this, the talk will explain how we are experimenting with human and machine computing to make sense of--and verify--Big Crisis Data. For example, we can automatically extract crisis information from Twitter by combining microtasking with machine learning. This would enable UN information management officers to create their own classifiers on the fly. In terms of verification, we can draw on techniques from time-critical crowdsourcing to rapidly collect and triangulate evidence during disasters. This would allow emergency managers to quickly debunk rumors in the immediate aftermath of a crisis. In conclusion, the talk will outline how we can actively bridge the gap between humanitarian and computing communities.


Patrick Meier (PhD) is an internationally recognized thought leader on the application of new technologies for humanitarian response. He presently serves as Director of Social Innovation at the Qatar Foundation’s Computing Research Institute (QCRI) where he and his team use Advanced Computing to develop Next Generation Humanitarian Technologies. Patrick is also a UNICEF Humanitarian Innovations Fellow, a Rockefeller Foundation and PopTech Fellow, and a Fellow at Harvard University where he previously co-directed the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative's Program on Crisis Mapping. His influential blog iRevolution has received well over 1 million hits and been cited by the New York Times, UK Guardian, Slate, Wired, Scientific American and New Scientist, amongst others. Patrick tweets at @patrickmeier.