Dr. Andreas Stefik
Professor of Computer Science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Henderson, NV, USA / White/Caucasian
🎓 B.S. in Computer Science from Central Washington University
🎓 B.A. in Music from Central Washington University
🎓 M.S. in Computer Science from Washington State University
🎓 Ph.D. in Computer Science from Washington State University
😁 Andreas learned a great deal of what little he knows about conducting scientific research, not from scientists at all, but from the composer Ben Johnston.
Dr. Stefik creates inclusive, user-friendly programming technologies for all, including those with disabilities.
ABOUT HIS WORK
Dr. Andreas Stefik focuses his work on creating technologies that help all people invent their own technologies. His focus is on the word all, meaning thinking carefully about people in different parts of their lives, in addition to those who often get ignored as potential inventors, like those with disabilities. He and his wife Melissa are the co-inventors of the Quorum programming language, which uses human factors evidence to guide the language's evolutionary design process. He works heavily with communities of people with disabilities.
WATCH & DISCUSS
Watch: Quorum: An Accessible Programming Language
What are ways you are making computer science accessible for all?
ADVICE TO YOUNGER SELF
Andreas first learned computer science in High School.
“I would tell my younger self
that the computer science discipline is messy in how it organizes itself and reinvents the wheel constantly, which shows up in these languages. My advice would be not to get sucked in by fads and trends with the latest cool "tools." After all, these things come and go, but the principles and math tend to stick around.”
HOW HAS ANDREAS’S WORK CONTRIBUTED TO OR HARNESSED COMPUTER SCIENCE'S GOOD, NEUTRAL, AND NEGATIVE IMPACTS?
Ethical or Moral Impacts of Computing: “People with disabilities are chronically and perpetually excluded in computer science. How exactly to push the community to be more inclusive, without being mean, while being forceful enough to cause change, is an extremely difficult balance.”
Good: Andreas’s work focuses on creating programming technologies that are more inclusive and user-friendly, especially for communities of people with disabilities. This contributes to the positive impact of computer science by promoting accessibility and equal opportunities for individuals regardless of their abilities. His efforts in inventing a programming language and addressing usability challenges align to make technology more accessible to a broader audience.
Neutral Andreas acknowledges the existence of numerous programming languages and technologies in the field, which can be both positive and neutral. While his work adds to the diversity of programming tools available, it also highlights the confusing nature behind such a vast landscape. The neutral impact lies in the ongoing evolution of programming languages and technologies, with each serving specific purposes within the field.
Negative: Andreas raises concerns about the increasing labor automation and its potential negative societal consequences, such as job displacement. He highlights the need for ethical considerations and decision-making regarding the balance between automation and employment.
Additionally, he points out the challenges related to privacy and data collection in the context of AI, which could have negative implications if not adequately addressed. The potential loss of jobs in sectors like transportation due to automation is another negative impact that needs careful consideration.