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HCDE Professor Cecilia Aragon gives Women in Data Science keynote on "The Rigorous and Human Life of Data"

March 20, 2022

Cecilia Aragon, Professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering gave a keynote presentation at the 2022 Women in Data Science annual conference.

Very often, the words “rigorous” and “human-centered” have been used as opposites in technical fields, with the implication that a focus on human aspects makes science “soft” or “insufficiently technical.” According to Professor Aragon, this is a false dichotomy.

While extraordinary advances in our ability to collect, analyze, and interpret vast amounts of data have been transforming the fundamental nature of data science, the human aspects of data science, including how to support scientific creativity and human insight, how to address ethical concerns, and the consideration of societal impacts, have been less studied. Yet these human issues are becoming increasingly vital to the future of data science. 

In this talk, Professor Aragon reflects on a 30-year career in data science in industry, government, and academia, discusses what it means for data science to be both rigorous and human-centered, and speculates upon future directions for data science.