Åsa Cajander have been interviewed for the local magazine Vårt Uppsala. The interview was about all her areas of research, and the title indicates one of her core ideas: We need to digitalize with a focus on soft values. The article is quite long, but below you find a translation of the first part.
Professor Åsa Cajander researches and educates people in human computer interaction at Uppsala University. A research area that is broad and that reveals how the work situation becomes more complex, unsustainable and more vulnerable if we do not develop IT systems with more soft values, which can talk to each other and let us people exercise our core business.
Now comes new technology with artificial intelligence and machine learning and new ways to automate large parts of our work in the future. Of course this sounds amazing. But what should be people’s role in relation to technology? What would our professional life look like?
– I believe that automation will indeed happen, and we need to design it with care,
so that people’s important work is not removed. It should not be that we automate everything we can and that what cannot be automated, ie the residual products that are left over, becomes human tasks. For what does it consist of? Also, someone has to think so that we retain the competence about what automation does. The day the automation does not work, the employee must be able to do that work, otherwise the company / organization becomes vulnerable. We must also ensure that the working environment we get becomes motivating, that one can develop his / her skills and can feel satisfied with his / her work. One must be able to know when the work begins and ends, the extent of the work. You have to think carefully about the work situation.
Åsa Cajander believes that many different skills must be involved in designing and developing the automation so that it fits the people who work in parallel with the future technology. The automatic process also does not cope with the ethical decisions that a person can handle. Who takes responsibility for which profession it becomes in automation? Who thinks about these issues? The economist who wants us to automate as much as it possible counts very short-term, says Åsa Cajander with determination.
Wanted – more women for future IT development
Åsa believes that it is her students that she is now educating, which in the future will control the automation. She calls for more women in the area. In the master’s programs, it is very heterogeneous in terms of nationality and ethnicity, but it is mostly guys who study in IT. It looks almost the same internationally. Some universities around the world are trying to reverse the trend of men’s dominance by packaging their education with social responsibility problems as it attracts women more. Technology to solve the difficult issues involves more than technology for the sake of technology. And more women are needed in the area.