The School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS) Celebrated ‘Day of Scientific Renaissance of Africa’ by organizing a seminar and exhibition of scholarly works on Wednesday, 29th June, 2022. The seminar, which was held at the Science Conference Room, Daniel Adjei Bekoe Building, was delivered by Dr. Isaac Wiafe, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and it was on the topic Designing Persuasive Technologies: Current State, Prospects and Challenges. The program attracted about 140 participants including faculty members, staff and students from different units of the University. It was moderated by Mr. Michael Agbo Soli.

Prof. Sandow Mark Yidana, Dean (SPMS)

In his opening remarks, the Dean of the School and Chairman of the program, Professor Sandow Mark Yidana, provided a brief background to the Day of Scientific Renaissance of Africa (DSRA). He spoke about how science and technology has contributed immensely to the development of the world. He indicated that in Africa, especially Ghana, science and technology has not received the needed support even though the country has a lot of mineral resources. This is because our knowledge in technology is insufficient to efficiently utilize the resources. He stated further that the objectives of the seminar were to showcase the technological innovations available in the School to mark this year’s  DSRA celebrations, and to encourage collaboration among faculty members to help solve national challenges.

Giving the presentation, Dr. Isaac Wiafe, spoke about Persuasive Computing, which deals with using people’s skills to create technologies that help in behavioral change such as how to suppress aggression when one is angry, how to check speeding on roads, and transforming behavior by virtual space. According to Dr. Wiafe, there is a growing trend of embedding computational capability into almost all activities. He stated some of the areas of application of persuasive technologies as health and wellbeing (health behavior change), e-commerce, environment issues and sustainability, energy saving, education, security and safety, and in solving other social issues such  teenage pregnancy and drug addiction. According to Dr. Wiafe, due to ethical concerns and the cost of rolling out persuasive technologies in real life, research in the area is now considering virtual realities as test beds.

Dr. Isaac Wiafe delivering his presentation

Touching on challenges,  Dr. Wiafe stated that the complexities in human attitude and behavior, and ethics (coercion, deception and trust) – defining the boundary are matters which must be considered. According to him, there are concerns regarding how users will transfer their behaviors to non-persuasive spaces, and the unintended effects of using persuasive technologies.

The Dean, in his closing remarks, encouraged collaboration between faculty members in the Department of Computer Science and other Departments in SPMS and other academic units of the University, for further development in persuasive technologies.

A cross-section of participants

After the seminar, exhibition of scholarly works and technological innovations took place in the various Departments.

Exhibition of Scholarly Works and Technological Innovations