Thomas Olsson

Associate Professor, New Social Research
Sub unit: Computing Sciences |
Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences

About me

I'm an interdisciplinary and practice-oriented scholar excited about ethical and critical design of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). I have the great privilege of leading the Technology x Social Interaction Research group. 

For up-to-date publications, please see my Google Scholar profile.


I'm leading the "Technology x Social Interaction" research group, working with some really inspirational people. I'm the Principal Investigator in Business Finland project Big Match, co-PI in Academy of Finland project EmoDiM, work package leader in ERDF project KITE, and involved in a number of other externally funded projects, such as Fast Teams at LUT. 

I'm the course responsible for HTIS85 Methods on Human-Centered Design and TAYJ12 Ethics of Technology.

I'm developing my professorial expertise in the nurturing atmosphere of the New Social Research programme at Tampere University. NSR is a bold endeavor to create interdisciplinary social scientific competence relevant for the 21st century. 

I'm also affiliated with the Computing unit in the faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, as well as the Tampere HTI community.

I'm actively involved in Rajapinta, a scientific community focused on digital social sciences and interdisciplinary Internet research.

Fields of expertise

The overarching goals of my research are to understand how new ICTs shape social behavior and to utilize this insight in envisioning and designing ICT prototypes that could appropriately support and enhance social interaction. I'm a designer and computer scientist by training, a critical social scientist and humanist by conviction. My main fields are Human-Computer Interaction and Computer-Supported Collaborative Work. I've published over 100 scientific papers in international journals and conferences, including ACM CHI, CSCW and Communications of the ACM. I actively review for journals, such as Human-Computer Interaction, Interacting with Computers, and Human-Computer Studies.

Topics: Among other things, I've studied professional social matching, social technologies, social extended reality, collective use of user-generated content, mobile augmented reality, early online communities, haptic human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, proactive and context-aware systems, and playful applications of ICT.

Technology: I'm interested in various emerging technologies, particularly Recommender Systems, new Social Media services, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and Autonomous & Intelligent Systems. Rather than developing such technology, I focus on the user-centric and societal requirements and designing ethically and socially sustainable service concepts.

Methodology: my research is mainly qualitative by nature, aiming to make sense of and conceptualize unexplored phenomena and gain user-centric insight into new information and communication technologies. By critically approaching existing design paradigms, I aim to design new social user experiences and encourage ethical and socially sustainable design of technological services. Recently, I've focused on getting familiar with computational social science approaches like network analysis and content analysis, and computational analytics methods based on machine learning. 

I'm well familiar with both the Centrum and Hervanta campuses of Tampere University. Before the merger, I was an Associate Professor at University of Tampere and before that an Adjunct Professor and Post-doctoral Researcher at Tampere University of Technology.