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The UCI Department of Informatics is proud to present:
Ron Baecker
Emeritus Professor of Computer Science and Bell Chair in HCI
University of Toronto
Our world has been animated and enriched by digital technologies used for creativity, collaboration, learning, health, politics, and commerce.  Yet there is much that is troubling.
We depend upon software that nobody truly understands and that is vulnerable to hackers and cyberterrorism.  Privacy has been overrun by governments and surveillance capitalism.  Our children are addicted to their devices; we have become workaholics. Jobs and livelihoods are being demolished without adequate social safety nets. A few digital technology leviathans threaten to control not only their domains, but all commerce. There is huge hype associated with modern AI, and many risks to society stemming from its premature use before it is ready.
Happily, we are not helpless victims of forces totally outside our control.  We can raise our voices as citizens; we can enact laws and be proactive as a society. My talk will mention steps of both kinds, then focus on what we as digital technology and information society professionals can and must do.
Ron Baecker is Emeritus Professor of Computer Science and Bell Chair in Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Toronto. His B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. (1969) are from MIT. He was the co-founder of UofT’s Dynamic Graphics Project (DGP), and the founder of its Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI) and its Technologies for Aging Gracefully lab (TAGlab).
He has been named one of the 60 Pioneers of Computer Graphics by ACM SIGGRAPH. He is an ACM Fellow, an ACM Distinguished Speaker. and a Canadian Digital Media Pioneer. He has been elected to the CHI Academy by ACM SIGCHI, and was given a 2020 CHI Social Impact Award.
His most recent books ( are:
• Baecker, R.M. (2019). Computers and Society: Modern Perspectives, Oxford University Press.
• Baecker, R.M., Feldman, G., Langer, J., and Stein, J. (2020). The COVID-19 Solutions Guide: Health, Wealth, Technology, and the Human Spirit.
• Baecker, R.M. (2021). Digital Dreams Have Become Nightmares: What We Must Do.
He is also the founding Editor of the Synthesis Lectures on Technology and Health (Springer Nature, Publisher), and the organizer of the virtual community and resource hub,