Professor Richard Harper

Professor, Co-Director of the Institute for Social Futures

Research Overview

Originally trained as a sociologist but now a computer scientist, I am concerned with how new technologies shape us and how we in turn shape our technologies - in the space that is often known as Human Computer Interaction or HCI. I have written 13 books, including the IEEE award winning "The Myth of the Paperless Office"; “Texture”, (the A.o.I.R. book of the year 2011); and “Choice” (2016). The latter examines everyday choice-making activities and considers these in light of scientific theories about the mechanics of the ‘mind’. I have also published over 160 scientific articles on topics covering a wide range of topics, from the social impact and design of mobile phones, to the future of search engines, to the latest incarnation of artificial intelligence.

Prior to becoming Co-Director of the Institute for Social Futures at the University, I am also a Professor of Computer Science and Communication. I became the UK’s first professor of Socio-Digital Systems at the University of Surrey in 2002.

Previously, I have led research groups at Xerox (Euro) Parc and Microsoft, and was the director and founder of The Digital World Research Centre at the University of Surrey. I have founded and jointly led start-up companies with clients that have included Hewlett Packard, Vodafone, and Stora Enso, and continue to consult for many of the world’s most ambitious companies through Social Shaping Research (Cambridge). I am a Fellow of the IET and of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2014, the ACM elected me a Fellow of its Academy in honour of leadership in the field of Human-Computer Interaction. I am currently a Visiting Professor in the College of Science at the University of Swansea, Wales.

My personal website is here.

  • ISF - Leadership Team
  • ISF Directors
  • Lancaster Intelligent, Robotic and Autonomous Systems Centre
  • MSF Leads
  • SCC (Pervasive Systems)