Episode 3: Is there a ‘digital darkness’ descending?


How a human-centred approach to digital technology helps to address global problems. Computer Scientist Professor Matt Jones discusses his research into street-speaker systems in India and how working with emergent users to design technology makes a real difference in their lives. Matt also talks about a ‘digital darkness’ in terms of privacy, artificial intelligence, the breakdown in face-to-face communication and how we can use a human-centred approach to overcome this.


Computer scientist Professor Matt Jones is Head of the College of Science at Swansea University. His research takes him to places like Dharavi in India and townships in Cape Town, South Africa, where he works with local people living in low resource environments to build technologies that provide access to information. Matt and his team place street speakers in places like shop kiosks and users ask questions, very much like asking Google Home or Amazon Echo. The speaker can provide computer generated answers or the question can be referred to a person. Matt believes that a human-centred approach to digital technologies will help us to prevent the descent of a ‘digital darkness’ and help to combat the ‘rise of the robot.’

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