ANU hosts computing expert who gave Stephen Hawking his voice

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 — Predictive computing expert Lama Nachman, who led the team that gave a voice to the late Professor Stephen Hawking, will be visiting ANU this week and will deliver a public lecture on the future of technology.

Nachman has spent the past decade at Intel shaping the future of predictive computing, where devices powered by artificial intelligence can learn and act on their own to assist their owners, businesses or societies.

As part of her time at ANU, Nachman will work with researchers at the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science on challenges and opportunities for technology beyond today’s smart phones and virtual home assistants.

Nachman is an Intel Fellow and Director of the Anticipatory Computing Lab at Intel. Her public lecture is titled Liberating Technology: the future of human agency, and will discuss how humans interact and engage with sensing technologies.

Nachman led the team that developed a new software platform and sensing system to help Professor Hawking to communicate with the world.

Subsequently, Nachman also led the effort to take that technology to the open-source community, enabling people with disabilities worldwide to communicate using limited input and live as independently as possible.

College Dean Professor Elanor Huntington welcomed Nachman’s visit to ANU and the significant expertise she brings to the University in terms of creating contextually aware experiences that understands users through sensing.

“We have witnessed amazing adoption of sensing into our daily lives, from smart phones to wearable technologies and virtual home assistants,” Professor Huntington said.

“Sensing has become ubiquitous, but technology continues to be highly dependent on us, asking for input, expecting us to provide every detail and bombarding us with irrelevant information.

“If we liberate technology to become more proactive, the next step is to empower it to act on our behalf and to understand the implications of doing so.”

Professor Huntington is leading the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science’s new project to reimagine engineering and computer science fit for the 21st century.

“Lama’s work pushes the boundaries of what computing can do to enhance human experiences,” Professor Huntington said.

Through the Reimagine project, the College will lead the way in bringing together people, technological systems and science to resolve highly complex global societal challenges.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC asked Professor Huntington to lead the Reimagine project as part of the University's commitment to help solve the most pressing problems facing the world.

The lecture is part of the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean's Colloquia Series, which showcases world leading thinkers in the field of engineering and computer science, who are doing transformational work in tackling diverse, interesting, and important problems in our world.

To discover more about the reimagination of the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, visit <https://cecs.anu.edu.au/reimagine>.

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WHO: Predictive computing expert Lama Nachman, Intel Fellow and Director of the Anticipatory Computing Lab at Intel

WHAT: Liberating Technology: the future of human agency

WHERE: The Great Hall, University House, ANU, Acton ACT

WHEN: 5.30pm – 7.30pm Thursday 3 May 2018 (AEST). Commences at 5.30 pm with networking, drinks and canapés, followed by the presentation at 6pm.

 

For media assistance, contact Will Wright from ANU media on +61 2 6100 3486, the ANU media hotline on +612 6125 7979 or at <media@anu.edu.au>.