With recent advances in natural language processing (NLP), especially with regard to large pretrained models, there have been numerous successful applications. However, there are growing concerns about the negative aspects of NLP systems, such as biases and a lack of user input. This course gives an overview of human-centered techniques and applications for NLP, ranging from human-centered design thinking to human-in-the-loop algorithms, fairness, and accessibility. Along the way, we will discuss machine-learning techniques relevant to human experience and to natural language processing.

This course aims at providing a human-centered perspective towards modern language technologies, and highlights topics shared between HCI and NLP communities.


Note: tentative schedule is subject to change.

Week Date Theme Course Material
1 Apr 3 Monday What is Human-Centered NLP [slides]
[scribe template]
1 Apr 5 Wednesday The Ultimate Crash: NLP Tasks & Applications [slides]
Basics of language models, pretraining, fine-tuning and prompting
Optional Readings:
2 Apr 10 Monday Design Thinking [slides] [scribe]
Overview of user-centered design, value-centered design and other design thinking
Optional Readings:
  • Pea, Roy D. "User centered system design: new perspectives on human-computer interaction." Journal educational computing research 3, no. 1 (1987): 129-134.
  • Friedman, Batya, David G. Hendry, and Alan Borning. "A survey of value sensitive design methods." Foundations and Trends® in Human–Computer Interaction 11, no. 2 (2017): 63-125.
  • Birhane, Abeba, William Isaac, Vinodkumar Prabhakaran, Mark Díaz, Madeleine Clare Elish, Iason Gabriel, and Shakir Mohamed. "Power to the People? Opportunities and Challenges for Participatory AI."Equity and Access in Algorithms, Mechanisms, and Optimization (2022): 1-8.
2 Apr 12 Wednesday Human in the Loop [slides] [scribe] [project signup]
Homework is out on Canvas.
Human or machine in the loop, where and who are the humans? Interactive NLP systems
Optional Readings:
3 Apr 17 Monday Learning from Human Feedback [slides] [scribe]
Different forms of feedback, and approaches to incorporate human feedback; RLHF
Optional Readings:
3 Apr 19 Wednesday 📺 Guest Lecture: Interactive Visualization
[slides] [scribe]
Sherry Wu
4 Apr 24 Monday Human-Centered Evaluation [slides]
Evaluation methods and metrics; best practices around quantitative and qualitative evaluations

🔥 Fireside Chat w/ Mina Lee
Optional Readings:
4 Apr 26 Wednesday Data Collection and Curation [slides] [scribe]
Annotation task design; annotation paradigms; dataset artifacts and difficulty

🔥 Fireside Chat w/ Mitchell Gordon
Optional Readings:
5 May 1 Monday Beyond Benchmarking [slides] [scribe]
The role of benchmarking; what benchmarks can and can't do; rethinking benchmark

🔥 Fireside Chat w/ Alex Tamkin
Optional Readings:
5 May 3 Wednesday Course Project Showcase 🤩
6 May 8 Monday Guest Lecture: Ethics and Social Responsibility [slides]
Rishi Bommasani
6 May 10 Wednesday Values and Culture [slides]
Values, norms and culture encoded in (gen)AI.

🔥 Fireside Chat w/ Pratyusha Ria Kalluri
Optional Readings:
7 May 15 Monday Guest Lecture + Fireside Chat 🔥
Privacy and Security [slides]
Eric Wallace
Optional Readings:
7 May 17 Wednesday Guest Lecture: Architecting Proxies of Our Lives in Simulations. Joon Sung Park Optional Readings:
8 May 22 Monday Trust and Social Impact [slides]
Ways to understand and quantify trust; applications of NLP for social good; societal issues; inclusion

🔥 Fireside Chat w/ Elisa Kreiss
Optional Readings:
8 May 24 Wednesday Human AI Collaboration [slides]
Human-AI interaction; human-AI teaming and collaboration; augmenting human capabilities
Optional Readings:
9 May 29 Monday Memorial Day - No Class
9 May 31 Wednesday 📺 Guest Lecture: AI Governance
Irene Solaiman
Optional Readings:
10 June 5 Monday 🔥 Fireside Chat: AI, People, and Society
Eric Horvitz and Peter Norvig
Optional Readings:
10 June 7 Wednesday In-Class Final Project Presentation


Course Info

Office Hours


Academic Accommodations

Well-Being, Stress Management, & Mental Health