Hello beautiful people!
I’m a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I study Human-AI Interaction, AI-Mediated Communication, and Social Computing. I am advised by Dr. Yun Huang at the Social Computing Systems Lab and mentored by Dr. Mike Yao in the Technology and Social Behavior Lab.
Communication serves as the backbone of human connections, shaping both personal and professional relationships. I am committed to cultivating synergy between humans and AI agents by developing and evaluating LLM-based agents that strengthen human communication. Additionally, I provide guidelines to address the societal implications of these innovations. Examples of my work include “CoAGent”, an AI toolkit that positions AI as a collaborative entity in public services, enhancing mutual learning between humans and AI during service development; “PocketBot”, an AI agent that mediates human-to-human communication via SMS, fostering couples’ emotional communication; and “Self 2.0”, a multi-modal self-clone using deep-fake technologies that aid self-expression and self-compassion. I posit AI agents as social actors and mediators in forming reciprocal relationships with, and augmenting, humans.
In both my academic and industry experience, I collaborate closely with researchers from both the social sciences and computer science fields, as well as with domain experts. “See, Feel, Think, Act” is my simple yet profound formula for navigating life’s journey. I am open to various research collaborations, and mentoring junior researchers. Connect if interested in shared projects!
my ai cLONE
2023-09-20: Scheduled to present at CSCW ’23 this October in Minnesota!
2023-08-27: I am actively looking for a position in HCI research and am open to exploring exciting opportunities!
2023-08-21: Thrilled to be co-instructing IS 226: Introduction to HCI this fall and looking forward to the array of class activities and student projects planned!
This empirical study serves as a primer for interested service providers to determine if and how Large Language Models (LLMs) technology will be integrated for their practitioners and the broader community. We investigate the mutual learning journey of non-AI experts and AI through CoAGent, a service co-creation tool with LLM-based agents. Engaging in a three-stage participatory design processes, we work with with 23 domain experts from public libraries across the U.S., uncovering their fundamental challenges of integrating AI into human workflows. Our findings provide 23 actionable “heuristics for service co-creation with AI”, highlighting the nuanced shared responsibilities between humans and AI. We further exemplar 9 foundational agency aspects for AI, emphasizing essentials like ownership, fair treatment, and freedom of expression. Our innovative approach enriches the participatory design model by incorporating AI as crucial stakeholders and utilizing AI-AI interaction to identify blind spots. Collectively, these insights pave the way for synergistic and ethical human-AI co-creation in service contexts, preparing for workforce ecosystems where AI coexists.
Open-source GitHub repo available [here].
Qingxiao Zheng, Zhongwei Xu, Abhinav Choudhury, Yuting Chen, Yongming Li, Yun Huang.
This study explores the impact of AI-generated digital self-clones on improving online presentation skills. We carried out a mixed-design experiment involving 44 international students, comparing self-recorded videos (control) with self-clone videos (AI group) for English presentation practice. The AI videos utilized voice cloning, face swapping, lip-sync, and body-language simulation to refine participants’ original presentations in terms of repetition, filler words, and pronunciation. Machine-rated scores indicated enhancements in speech performance for both groups. Though the groups didn’t significantly differ, the AI group exhibited a heightened depth of reflection, self-compassion, and a meaningful transition from a corrective to an enhancive approach to self-critique. Within the AI group, congruence between self-perception and AI self-clones resulted in diminished speech anxiety and increased enjoyment. Our findings recommend the ethical employment of digital self-clones to enhance the emotional and cognitive facets of skill development.
Qingxiao Zheng and Yun Huang.
RQ: How do people (e.g., victims, attackers, bystanders, or spectators) respond to safety risks posed by virtual avatars, and what are the design implications for avatar-based human-human interactions?
Understanding emerging safety risks in nuanced social VR spaces and how existing safety features are used is crucial for the future development of safe and inclusive 3D social worlds. Prior research on safety risks in social VR is mainly based on interview or survey data about social VR users’ experiences and opinions, which lacks “in-situ observations” of how individuals react to these risks. Using two empirical studies, this paper seeks to understand safety risks and safety design in social VR. In Study 1, we investigated 212 YouTube videos and their transcripts that document social VR users’ immediate experiences of safety risks as victims, attackers, or bystanders. We also analyzed spectators’ reactions to these risks shown in comments to the videos. In Study 2, we summarized 13 safety features across various social VR platforms and mapped how each existing safety feature in social VR can mitigate the risks identified in Study 1. Based on the uniqueness of social VR interaction dynamics and users’ multi-modal simulated reactions, we call for further rethinking and reapproaching safety designs for future social VR environments and propose potential design implications for future safety protection mechanisms in social VR.
RQ: How can we support multi-stakeholders to shape and create their own AI-mediated experiences?
Participatory Design (PD) aims to empower users by involving them in various design decisions. However, it was found that the PD’s evaluation criteria are usually set by the product team and used only at the end of a design process, without adequate user participation. To address this issue, we proposed introducing UX evaluation metrics into design materials at the participatory design INPUT phase. Using a case study of designing a chatbot for community members to report safety incidents, we studied the impact of this approach with 58 participants from two workshops. Our results showed that the integration of UX evaluation metrics efciently rationalized participants’ contributions and helped identify key evaluation metrics when setting values for new AI systems, enhancing PD workshop insights. In addition to examining the use of the Program Theory Model to explain PD, our empirical investigation added a new dimension to this model.
Qingxiao Zheng and Yun Huang
RQ: When and how does AI engage with humans? What are the UX effects of one-on-one (dyadic AI) and multi-party (polyadic AI) interactions?
Early conversational agents (CAs) focused on dyadic human-AI interaction between humans and the CAs, followed by the increasing popularity of polyadic human-AI interaction, in which CAs are designed to mediate human-human interactions. CAs for polyadic interactions are unique because they encompass hybrid social interactions, i.e., human-CA, human-to-human, and human-to-group behaviors. However, research on polyadic CAs is scattered across different fields, making it challenging to identify, compare, and accumulate existing knowledge. To promote the future design of CA systems, we conducted a literature review of ACM publications and identified a set of works that conducted UX (user experience) research. We qualitatively synthesized the effects of polyadic CAs into four aspects of human-human interactions, i.e., communication, engagement, connection, and relationship maintenance. Through a mixed-method analysis of the selected polyadic and dyadic CA studies, we developed a suite of evaluation measurements on the effects. Our findings show that designing with social boundaries, such as privacy, disclosure, and identification, is crucial for ethical polyadic CAs. Future research should also advance usability testing methods and trust-building guidelines for conversational AI.
Qingxiao Zheng, Yiliu Tang, Yiren Liu, Weizi Liu, and Yun Huang
RQ: How can we design a chatbot to mediate emotional communication?
Many couples experience long-distance relationships (LDRs), and “couple technologies” have been designed to influence certain relational practices or maintain them in challenging situations. Chatbots show great potential in mediating people’s interactions. However, little is known about whether and how chatbots can be desirable and effective for mediating LDRs. In this paper, we conducted a two-phase study to design and evaluate a chatbot, PocketBot, that aims to provide effective interventions for LDRs. In Phase I, we adopted an iterative design process by conducting need-finding interviews to formulate design ideas and piloted the implemented PocketBot with 11 participants. In Phase II, we evaluated PocketBot with eighteen participants (nine LDR couples) in a week-long field trial followed by exit interviews, which yielded empirical understandings of the feasibility, effectiveness, and potential pitfalls of using PocketBot. First, a knock-on-the door feature allowed couples to know when to resume an interaction after evading a conflict; this feature was preferred by certain participants (e.g., participants with stoic personalities). Second, a humor feature was introduced to spice up couples’ conversations. This feature was favored by all participants, although some couples’ perceptions of the feature varied due to their different cultural or language backgrounds. Third, a deep talk feature enabled couples at different relational stages to conduct opportunistic conversations about sensitive topics for exploring unknowns about each other, which resulted in surprising discoveries between couples who have been in relationships for years. Our findings provide inspirations for future conversational-based couple technologies that support emotional communication.
Qingxiao Zheng, Daniela Markazi, Yiliu Tang, and Yun Huang
Understanding safety risks and safety design in social VR environments Journal Article
In: Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, vol. 7, no. CSCW1, pp. 1–37, 2023.
"Begin with the end in mind": Incorporating UX evaluation metrics into design materials of participatory design Proceedings Article
In: CHI EA ’23: Extended Abstracts of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2023.
UX research on conversational human-AI interaction: A literature review of the ACM digital library Proceedings Article
In: In Proceedings of the 2022 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems, 2022.
Facing the illusion and reality of safety in social VR Proceedings Article
In: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstract and Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Novel Challenges of Safety, Security and Privacy in Extended Reality, 2022.
“PocketBot is like a knock-on-the-door!”: Designing a chatbot to support long-distance relationships Journal Article
In: Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, vol. 5, no. CSCW2, pp. 1–28, 2021.
Public opinion information dissemination in mobile social networks–taking Sina Weibo as an example Journal Article
In: Information Discovery and Delivery, 2020.
How interaction paradigms affect user experience and perceived interactivity in virtual reality environment Proceedings Article
In: International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, pp. 223–234, Springer International Publishing Cham 2020.
Investigating the differences in privacy news based on grounded theory Proceedings Article
In: International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics, pp. 528–535, Springer, Cham 2020.
How virtual reality technology influences news? Investigating VR news, TV news and text news reports in sense of presence and perceived news effects Proceedings Article
In: 69th Conference of International Communication Association (ICA2019), 2019.
My dog’s AI Clone.
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