Dr Kutoma Wakunuma

Job: Research Fellow and Part Time Lecturer

Faculty: Technology

School/department: School of Computer Science and Informatics

Research group(s): Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH, United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)116 250 6294

E: kutoma@dmu.ac.uk

W: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/ccsr

 

Personal profile

Dr Kutoma Wakunuma has a PhD in Information Communication Technologies for Development and Gender. She has served as a Research Fellow on the ETICA project which was looking at ethical issues of emerging ICT Applications. She has also worked as a Fellow on a CIGREF funded project which was identifying emerging ethical issues in Information systems as well as looking at governance arrangements in the field. This was in addition to researching the ethical implications of social media in Information Systems. She currently works as a Research Fellow on the CONSIDER project which is looking at Civil Society participation in research. Dr Wakunuma was also a Research Fellow attached to the University of Witten/Herdecke in Germany under the Initiativkreis Ruhrgebiet where she was one of three awarded for outstanding research out of sixteen international Research Fellows commissioned on the Fellowship. She also teaches part time MSc and third year students Research, Ethics and Professionalism and Privacy and Data Protection respectively.

Publications and outputs 

  • Power as an ethical concern in the Global South’s digital transformation: Power or empowerment?
    Power as an ethical concern in the Global South’s digital transformation: Power or empowerment? Wakunuma, Kutoma The digitalization of the Global South, particularly with respect to African countries, is moving at a fast pace. This can be seen in the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in different domains such as healthcare, education, industry, entertainment, as well as in the provision of e-government services, to name just a few. Such digital progress is seen as positive and often presented as such in international development discussions, for example at the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2019 on ICTs for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Despite the positives, there are also negative aspects of digitalization, which have to be addressed in the form of ethical concerns. This paper discusses these concerns by specifically exploring the aspect of power in light of the digital transformation of the Global South. The discussion advanced in this paper is informed by a review of literature. open access article
  • Computing for social good: Supporting microfinance institutions in Zambia
    Computing for social good: Supporting microfinance institutions in Zambia Wakunuma, Kutoma; Siwale, Juliana; Beck, Robert We investigate whether information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be used to achieve social good as they are implemented in microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Zambia. We find through information gathered from interviews with MFI officials that their organizations are focused primarily on survival in a competitive financial climate. Additionally, our findings reveal that most MFI business within the context of ICTs only promotes social good by default and not by design. This means that social good is not a primary mover or something that MFIs plan to achieve when they integrate ICTs into their business models but that it happens because of the assumed mission of primarily serving the informal sector small business and microbusiness and the low‐income clients. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Responsible Research & Innovation in promoting Sustainable Development and Empowerment through ICT
    Stakeholder Engagement and Responsible Research & Innovation in promoting Sustainable Development and Empowerment through ICT Wakunuma, Kutoma; Jiya, Tilimbe ICT plays a significant role in both developed and developing countries across the globe. ICTs are also seen as playing an important role in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, their importance is seen in terms of achieving sustainable development in the areas of health, education, social inclusion, global partnership and empowerment among others. However, much ground cannot be made without creating and involving communities and networks that will support the sustainable use and development of ICT in emerging and developing countries. One concept that advocates for the inclusion of communities and establishment of networks around the use and development of ICT is Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). At the core of RRI is the engagement of different stakeholders within communities and networks that are involved with ICT development in emerging and developing countries to ensure sustainable development. Using stakeholder theory, we introduce the work being conducted in the Responsible Research and Innovation Networked Globally (RRING) project to highlight the important role of stakeholders as part of RRI in the use and development of ICTs in emerging and developing countries. In particular, we will discuss how stakeholder engagement as part of RRI can be understood in an emerging country like India, specifically through our discussion of a women’s artisan handicraft centre known as Gramshree in the heart of Ahmedabad, India. We aim to highlight aspects of stakeholder engagement, the role of stakeholders in implementing ICTs in women’s sustainable development and empowerment. The aim is to showcase how sustainable development and empowerment could be achieved through the formation of a community network around ICT use and development. open access journal
  • Robot Enhanced Therapy for Children with Autism (DREAM): A Social Model of Autism
    Robot Enhanced Therapy for Children with Autism (DREAM): A Social Model of Autism Richardson, Kathleen; Coeckelbergh, Mark; Wakunuma, Kutoma; Billing, Erik; Ziemke, Tom; Gomez, P; Vanderborght, Bram; Belpaeme, Tony The development of social robots for children with autism has been a growth field in the last 15 years. This paper reviews studies in robots and autism as a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts on social-communication development and the way in which social robots could help children with autism develop social skills. Drawing on the ethics research from the EU funded DREAM project (framework 7), based on incorporating perspectives in our way of understanding autism from autism advocacy, parents of children with autism, medical practitioners in the field, and adults with Asperger’s, we propose that we start from the position that the child with autism is a social being with difficulties in expressing this sociality, and then following on from this core assumption, exploring how social robots can help children with autism develop social skills. We challenge the view that children with autism prefer technologies over other kinds of activities (exploring nature or the arts), engagements with other living beings (animals) or lack interest in human relationship (particularly close caregivers). Development of Robot-enhanced Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Cloud computing, capabilities and intercultural ethics: Implications for Africa
    Cloud computing, capabilities and intercultural ethics: Implications for Africa Wakunuma, Kutoma; Masika, Rachel This paper evaluates the potential benefits, drawbacks and ethical risks of cloud computing for African countries in the context of information communication technologies for development (ICT4D). The paper argues that the capability approach, incorporating development ethics, provides a useful framework for considering the ethics of cloud computing in Africa. Coupled with global and intercultural ethics perspectives, both provide a rich human-centred view of the technology's benefits, drawbacks and ethical risks. Focussing on the transformational benefits and features of cloud computing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the health sector, the paper highlights potential ethical risks that are cause for concern. The paper concludes that while cloud computing has considerable potential for advancing development through the enhancement of capabilities, there remain huge challenges in its efficient, effective and ethical use. As a result, ethical risks related to equity, ownership, dependency, privacy, trust and security that reflect ‘unfreedoms’ and ‘capability deprivations’ may consequently have an impact on the technology's potential as an information communication technology for development. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Improving brain computer interface research through user involvement - The transformative potential of integrating civil society organisations in research projects
    Improving brain computer interface research through user involvement - The transformative potential of integrating civil society organisations in research projects Stahl, Bernd Carsten, 1968-; Wakunuma, Kutoma; Rainey, Stephen; Hansen, Christian Research on Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) often aims to provide solutions for vulnerable populations, such as individuals with diseases, conditions or disabilities that keep them from using traditional interfaces. Such research thereby contributes to the public good. This contribution to the public good corresponds to a broader drive of research and funding policy that focuses on promoting beneficial societal impact. One way of achieving this is to engage with the public. In practical terms this can be done by integrating civil society organisations (CSOs) in research. The open question at the heart of this paper is whether and how such CSO integration can transform the research and contribute to the public good. To answer this question the paper describes five detailed qualitative case studies of research projects including CSOs. The paper finds that transformative impact of CSO integration is possible but by no means assured. It provides recommendations on how transformative impact can be promoted.
  • Civil Society Organisations in Research: A Literature-based Typology
    Civil Society Organisations in Research: A Literature-based Typology Rainey, Stephen; Wakunuma, Kutoma; Stahl, Bernd Carsten, 1968- This article explores literatures from various sources to highlight and understand differences among key players surrounding the perceived nature and role of civil society in research from different literature streams. Including civil society organisations (CSOs) in research activities is an integral part of a broad drive towards integration of science and society. Interest in CSO inclusion in research is widespread, but lacks a coherent focus and clarity on what CSOs are. Without this clarity, CSO-inclusive research, or policy, may be ineffective. This article addresses this gap in knowledge by presenting findings from an exploration of academic, policy and research project literature in order to come to a view on CSOs in research. This culminates in a typology of CSOs and provides a means of identifying types of CSOs. The typology shows four main types of CSO (Common cause, Shared voice, Research-oriented, Commercially-oriented) and provides a definition for each type, along with a basis for the definition; an example of each; some typical terminology; typical area of activity; properties; typical mission; key areas of interest and their ‘action logic’ in research. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Perceptions of ethics in IS: How age can affect awareness
    Perceptions of ethics in IS: How age can affect awareness Wilford, S.; Wakunuma, Kutoma Purpose – This aim of this paper was to highlight the awareness of ethical issues across the group of information systems (IS) professionals from a range of geographical regions. Design/methodology/approach – An initial survey was conducted that informed in-depth interviews with 26 IS professionals from across the globe. The study identified that around 70 per cent of the sample were over 50 years old. This provided an opportunity to consider age-related differences in perception regarding ethical awareness of both current and emerging technologies. Findings – The project revealed that the more mature IS professionals had a significantly higher level of awareness and perceived understanding regarding the importance of ethical issues than the younger IS professionals. Research limitations/implications – The research was limited to IS professionals and so the findings do not generalise further. Future research would be beneficial to find out if the higher level of ethical awareness is also evident across older people in general or whether it is specific to technology professionals. Practical implications – IS professionals need to be exposed to high standards and expectations of ethical behaviour from senior colleagues, as well as embedding this within technical education. Social implications – Caution with regards to youth culture and youthitisation of the workforce needs to be exerted to avoid rash decision-making and short-termism, which could undermine progress and development. A change in the view of employers to older workers will also require a change in attitudes across Western society, particularly as demographics continue to skew towards an aging population. Originality/value – This paper provides new insight into the ethical awareness of older employees and goes some way to dispel the myths surrounding stereotypes of older workers as being fearful of technology and resistant to change.
  • Tomorrow’s ethics and today’s response: An investigation into the ways information systems professionals perceive and address emerging ethical issues
    Tomorrow’s ethics and today’s response: An investigation into the ways information systems professionals perceive and address emerging ethical issues Wakunuma, Kutoma; Stahl, Bernd Carsten, 1968- This paper explores the question of how foresight and futures research can identify and address ethical issues in the field of Information Systems (IS). Starting from the premise that such IS are part of socio-technical systems, the interaction between technology and human actors raise ethical concerns. Early recognition of these concerns can address ethical issues and improve the use of the technology for a range of social and organisational goals. This paper discusses research conducted in two futures research projects. Both projects investigated emerging information and communication technologies (ICTs) and ethics. The first project established approaches for identifying future technologies and their related ethical concerns. This led to the identification of 11 emerging ICTs and their associated ethical concerns. The second project took these general ethical concerns and focused on their role in IS. Specifically, how IS professionals view future emerging technologies, their associated ethical concerns, and how they think these concerns could be addressed. The key findings are that IS professionals are primarily interested in the job at hand and less so in the ethical concerns that the job might bring; ethics is a concern that is best left for others to deal with. This paper considers the implications of research on ethics in emerging ICTs and draws general conclusions about the relevance of future technologies research in IS.
  • The empathic care robot: A prototype of responsible research and innovation
    The empathic care robot: A prototype of responsible research and innovation Stahl, Bernd Carsten, 1968-; McBride, Neil; Wakunuma, Kutoma; Flick, Catherine

Click here to view a full listing of Kutoma Wakunuma's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

Dr Wakunuma has an interest in understanding how modern technologies impact society both in the developed and developing world. Having worked in both these settings, she has also developed an interest in understanding the ethics of technologies which include the internet, mobile phones and social media in addition to how gender is implicated in their use. As technology is dynamic and always changing she also has an interest in researching emerging technologies, some of which work she has undertaken in the ETICA project. More specifically she has an interest in:

•  ICTs for development
•  Gender
•  Ethics
•  Emerging technologies
•  Social media

Areas of teaching

Research, Ethics and Professionalism

Privacy and Data Protection

Qualifications

PhD, MA, PGCert, Research Supervision, HND

Membership of professional associations and societies

Association of Progressive Communications

Current research students

Second supervisor for:

Samuel Liyala

Professional esteem indicators

Information, Communication and Society Journal Reviewer

Information Technologies & International Development Reviewer

Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society Guest Editor, (2011)

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