Plimpton Lecture Series featuring Dr. Melissa Cefkin

Dr. Melissa Cefkin, Ph.D.

Principle Researcher, Human Centered Systems, Nissan Research Center

“Anthropological Forays into the Future: Living with Autonomous Cars”

Monday, February 11, 2019 – from 5:00 to 6:00 PM in Mather Memorial, 201Photo of Dr. Melissa Cefkin

Dr. Cefkin leads a team at the Nissan Research Center in Silicon Valley that examines the challenge of creating autonomous vehicles. How do automotive designers and programmers ensure that their autonomous vehicles can successfully interact with human drivers and pedestrians? What do programmers need to know about the behavior of human-directed vehicles so that autonomous vehicles can accurately predict their intentions?

Earlier in her career, Dr. Cefkin worked as a manager in the Accelerated Discovery Lab at IRB Research as well as at the Sapient Corporation and the Institute for Research on Learning. Her publications include Ethnography and the Corporate Encounter (2009), which analyzes the implications of anthropologists and other ethnographically-oriented social scientists being increasingly hired as employees, consultants, and advisers for businesses and other organizations. She has also served as the President of Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC), an organization “dedicated to providing practitioners, businesses, and partner organizations with access to the best practical ethnographic expertise from around the world.”

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