I'm Vish(al).

I am a Ph.D. student in Human-Centered Computing at Georgia Tech. I study ways in which computing could contribute towards addressing problems of sustainability and socioeconomic development.


I am a second-year Ph.D. student in Human-Centered Computing at Georgia Tech. I am advised by Dr. Neha Kumar as a part of the Technology and Design towards “Empowerment” (TanDEm) Lab, Georgia Tech and mentored by Dr. Bonnie Nardi from UC Irvine.

I am an engineer-turned-researcher, conducting research in the domains of Human-Computer Interaction for Development (HCI4D) and Sustainable Human-Computer Interaction (SHCI). I use ethnographic, qualitative, and participatory methods to explore how digital technologies could cultivate "critical consciousness" or "conscientization" (Paulo Freire. Pedagogy of the oppressed. 1970) to:
(a) enable people to achieve an in-depth understanding of their socioeconomic contexts,
(b) raise their awareness about problems of sustainability and socioeconomic development, and
(c) empower them to take meaningful action to address such problems within their respective contexts.

I graduated from UC Irvine in 2019 with a master's in Informatics, where I worked with Dr. Bonnie Nardi.
Before that, I worked as a software engineer at Informatica, Bangalore, where I developed and tested business-to-business products.

Writing is hard, but nothing brings me more joy than revisiting what I have written and editing it until it becomes crisp and clear. I like to add a little drama to my writing to keep a reader involved. I find the whole ceremony of writing completely enthralling. I thank Dr. Bonnie Nardi, from whom I have learned a great deal of academic writing.

When I am not studying or researching, you can find me listening to (a) music from Dolly Parton, Greyson Chance, Shivpreet Singh, or Sounds of Isha, (b) watching Queer Eye on repeat, or (c) finding series to watch: either directed by Shonda Rhimes or starring Viola Davis.

Recent News

Oct 2020: Joined Academic Integrity Committee and Students Honors Committee at Georgia Tech.

Sep 2020: Survived CHI 2021 submission deadline during a global Pandemic!

Aug 2020: Joined Graduate Student Government Association at Georgia Tech as the Vice President of Conference Funds and the Member of Executive Cabinet.

Research and Publications

1. Limits to Economic Growth in Computing (2019-ongoing)

I firmly believe in creating futures where the economy favors qualitative development, such as improvement in the quality of life (healthcare, lifespan, education, and so on), over-emphasis on quantitative growth, such as an increase in GDP or GNP. Creating such futures requires a cultural, political, social, and economic shift from how to produce more to how to redistribute what we have in new, fair, and democratic ways. Drawing from post-growth philosophy, I argue that the redistribution should occur between the rich and the poor (degrowth philosophy), the Global North and the South (post-development philosophy), and present and future generations (steady-state philosophy). My work aims to promote such futures by exploring how computing could be disengaged from economic growth, from its continual urge to grow, innovate – the cornucopian paradigm dominant in computing. How much ever user-centered computing might get, the cornucopian paradigm may always lead to unsustainable systems: A human-centered design is not necessarily humanity-centered.
Supervisors: Dr. Neha Kumar and Dr. Bonnie Nardi

Social Media During Slow Crises
Vishal Sharma
Department of Informatics, UC Irvine, 2019

2. Scoping Future of Digital Work: Understanding Sociotechnical Ecologies in Supporting Romance Industry (2020-ongoing)

I study how the romance industry successfully works in a complex human-technology frontier. Innovations in online technologies have changed employment in the romance industry, with new stakeholders and systems offering opportunities for self-employment. Authors can now independently sell their products but are responsible for all the work that traditional institutions (e.g., publishing houses) used to provide. To work at this frontier, authors use a considerable number of different tools, to sell, but also grow and maintain their audience of consumers. They also use these same tools to find other people to help them in their work, such as getting marketing assistance. This human-technology frontier is an ecology of people and platforms that the writer must be able use each part of, but also collectively manage the totality of the ecology to be successful. I investigate how do socio-technical ecologies (e.g., people and tools) support romance writers, what are the challenges, and what can this teach us about the future of digital work?
Supervisor: Dr. Beki Grinter

3. Analyzing Sociotechnical Ecologies in Promoting Online Safety and Inclusivity (2018-2019)

Indian matrimonial websites build on traditional cultural values of Indian arranged marriages rather than disrupting them. The sites offer a “safe space” to marriage seekers for searching potential spourses by helping family members stay involved in and watching over the matrimonial process. Here a safe space means an environment where the presence of a social network has the capacity to create safety, both social and psychological. The websites promote inclusivity by facilitating spousal search for persons from marginalized groups including the disabled, widowed, divorced, and HIV positive. I study: (a) how do matrimonial websites foster safety and inclusivity? and (b) how could we foster safety and inclusivity on social networking and dating sites?
Supervisor: Dr. Bonnie Nardi

Towards Safe Spaces Online: A Study of Indian Matrimonial Websites
Vishal Sharma, Bonnie Nardi, Juliet Norton, and A. M. Tsaasan
Interaction Design for International Development Award 🏆


Feel free to message, email, or tweet at me with questions
about my work or ideas to collaborate!

My current local time is .

  +1 678 744 7670
Georgia Institute of Technology
85 Fifth Street NW
Atlanta, GA, 30332