ANU hosts computing expert who gave Stephen Hawking a voice

Lama Nachman
Tuesday 8 May 2018

Predictive computing expert Lama Nachman, who led the team that gave a voice to the late Professor Stephen Hawking, has visited ANU and delivered 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 worked 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 was titled Liberating Technology: the future of human agencyand discussed 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 was 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.

Professor Elanor Huntington in conversation with Lama Nachman


Listen to Lama Nachman's public lecture on Liberating Technology: the future of human agency here.

To discover more about the reimagination of the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, visit

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing