Upol Ehsan

Upol Ehsan is a doctoral candidate in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. Adopting a sociotechnical lens and bridging his background in analytic philosophy and engineering, his work resides at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) with a focus on designing explainable, equitable, and ethical technology. In an effort to make AI systems accessible to non-AI experts, his work has pioneered the notion of Rationale Generation in Explainable AI (XAI) where AI agents can verbalize their reasoning in plain English so that anyone regardless of their AI background could understand and work with AI systems. Challenging the algorithm-centered narrative of XAI, his work coined the term Human-centered Explainable AI (HCXAI) and charted its visions using value-sensitive, critically reflective, and sociotechnical perspectives.

Coming from the vibrant city of Dhaka in Bangladesh, he deeply cares about AI in the Global South. His recent work tackles the harmful implications of algorithms “made in the Global North” deployed in the Global South addressing issues around human rights, algorithmic accountability, and explainability. With an aim towards equity and justice, his design philosophy of technology aims to amplify underrepresented voices such that those who aren’t at the table do not end up on the menu.

He actively publishes in peer-reviewed venues like ACM CHI, IUI, and AAAI AIES. His work has received multiple awards in top-tier academic venues like CHI and has been covered in the press (e.g., MIT Technology Review). He actively organizes events that connect the HCI and AI communities, including leading the organization of the first workshop on Human-centered XAI at CHI 2021, one of the highest attended workshops in CHI’s history. He serves in the Organizing Committee for ACM DIS. He graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Washington & Lee University with dual-degrees in Philosophy (B.A.) and Engineering (B.S.). 

Outside academia, he has extensive experience in the management consulting and start-up worlds. He is also a social entrepreneur and has co-founded DeshLabs, a social innovation lab focused on fostering grassroots innovations in emerging markets like Bangladesh. He also an advisor for Aalor Asha, an educational institute he started for underprivileged children subjected to child labor.