Impacting the Society Positively through Computing Technology

Dr. Jacki O’Neill gives her presentation

With technology’s impact in the world today growing exponentially, equipping the masses with information and tech savvy skills has become necessary in ensuring they are able to leverage fully.

With this in mind, Africa-ai-Japan in collaboration with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) convened a webinar for students and staff to deliberate on technology advancement matters, Friday May 28, 2021.

According to Microsoft Africa Research Institute (MARI) founding Director, Dr. Jacki O’Neill, a good technology should be at the forefront of improving human interaction in a better way. She made the observation when she gave a presentation entitled Human Computer Interaction (HCI) for Societal Impact.

“HCI is a multidisciplinary subject that focuses on computer design and user experience, bringing together expertise from computer science, cognitive psychology, behavioral science, and design to understand and facilitate better interactions between users and machines,” affirmed Dr. O’Neill.

With HCI originating in the 1980s because of personal computing, she noted, a lot had changed since then with technological advancements spurring rapid growth in the world today. This, she opined, eventually gave birth to the emergence of big data and Artificial Intelligence (A.I) which have brought revolution in the Information technology (I.T.) sector.

HCI Webinar

“HCI is important in providing an avenue for researchers to come up with computers as well as technology that will not only change people’s lives but make it easier in the long run,” asserted the MARI Director.

She underscored the importance of technology in the industrial world, adding that the application of cutting-edge technology would spearhead production of quality work. This, Dr. O’Neill observed, would be beneficial to any companies’ financial stability.

She pointed out that motivation and job satisfaction was essential in ensuring industries were able to get quality work on time from their employees, noting that this would translate to improved work design thus increasing earnings for companies.

However, with technology showing huge advancements and providing the avenue for growth in various sectors like education and communication, among others, Dr. O’Neill underscored the need to in calculate ethical practices in developing A.I and big data as a way of ensuring that negative effects faced are ironed out.

“As learning institutions, we need to provide competitive courses with strong ethics that will mould better future programmers. Regulation through ethically taught practices would be critical in cushioning the masses from adverse effects,” retorted the MARI Director.

On his part, the Dean, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences (SOFNUS), Prof. Daniel Sila said the webinar was an eye opener on technological matters and would strengthen researchers as well as improve the University’s human resource networking.

“Such forums will catapult the University to even higher heights while consolidating its leading position as a centre of technological advancements,” elucidated Prof. Sila.

Prof. Koaze

The Chief Adviser, Africa-ai-Japan Project, Prof. Hiroshi Koaze was appreciative of the event saying such opportunities would be beneficial to students as they would engage with professionals in their respective fields.

He reiterated that Africa-ai-Japan was fully committed in furthering collaborations that would impact the society positively.

 Prof. Koaze advised the students to utilize the information available online for their own improvement. The event was implemented through the Africa-ai-Japan Project Phase II.

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