17th edition centers around using technology to enhance human behavior
Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU)’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE) hosted the 17th International Conference on Persuasive Technology from March 29-31. The virtual event facilitated a lively knowledge exchange between academics, researchers, and industry practitioners in the field of behavior design and persuasive technology (PT) - aimed at influencing people’s attitudes or behaviors.
A dynamic program of three workshops, one tutorial, a poster and lightning talks session and four main track sessions engaged distinguished speakers from more than 20 countries and over 240 registrants from 35 countries. As the host institution, HBKU’s CSE led the conference program, with Dr. Raian Ali, Professor in the Information and Computing Technology Division, as a General Chair, Dr. Dena Al-Thani as the Chair of the Workshops and Tutorials Track, and Dr. Marwa Qaraqe as the Chair of a special track on Sensor-based Persuasion.
Expert-led discussions over the three days centered on advances in technological capabilities, including smart environments and artificial intelligence, as well as tailored and personalized persuasion in health, sustainability, education, and well-being. Privacy, trust, and security were key considerations.
A keynote address by Dr. Evangelos Karapanos, Associate Professor, Cyprus University of Technology, discussed Behavior Change Technologies (BCTs) as promising tools for addressing key societal problems. Dr. Preslav Nakov, Principal Scientist at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), HBKU, spoke on analyzing the trustworthiness of news outlets using QCRI’s Tanbih news aggregator to combat fake news.
CSE presented a collaborative AI and Augmented Reality (AR)-based eye tracking system to train cardiology professionals to better interpret electrocardiograms. The talk was led by Dr. Dena Al-Thani, Assistant Professor and the Director of Interdisciplinary Programs, CSE, with Dr. Mohamed Elshazly, Weill-Cornell Medicine in Qatar, Dr. Mohammed Al-Hijji, Hamad Medical Corporation, and Mohammed Tahri Sqalli, Research Assistant at CSE.
Among HBKU’s contributions, Dr. Ali moderated a panel titled “Interdisciplinary Research: A Research Commissioner View” with Dr. Hatem Mheni, Qatar National Research Fund, the conference sponsors, Dr. Ryan Ko, University of Queensland, Dr. Nineta Polemi, University of Piraeus, and Dr. Annemarie Braakman-Jansen, University of Twente Dr. Al-Thani chaired a session which highlighted persuasive stress management for higher education students, among other aspects.
Speaking after the conference, Dr. Ali said: “It was a pleasure to host the prestigious 17th edition of the Persuasive Technology Conference and bring together our multidisciplinary research community. We thank the Qatar National Research Fund for their support and our speakers and attendees who contributed to a very challenging event. Our exchanges enrich our research work and also lead to new and better innovations in the design of software or digital solutions to address societal and personal concerns. While CSE’s research is well aligned to lead future trends, we value this enriching knowledge exchange.”