Dr. Ather Usama

Title: All Technology is Social: Going Beyond Building LLMs.

Affiliation:  Managing Partner, Edtech
Date and Time of Talk:  Date: 21th December 2023  Time: 14:15PM – 15:00PM


In his insightful talk titled “All Technology is Social: Going Beyond Building LLMs” at ICOSST, Dr. Ather Osama delves into the inherently social nature of technology, particularly focusing on the development and impact of Large Language Models (LLMs). He argues that while the technical sophistication of LLMs is undeniably impressive, understanding and harnessing their potential requires a broader social perspective. Dr. Osama explores how these advanced AI systems not only reflect but also influence social dynamics, cultural norms, and ethical considerations. He emphasizes the need for a multidisciplinary approach in the development of such technologies, integrating insights from sociology, ethics, and public policy. This talk challenges the audience to think beyond the technical aspects of LLMs and consider their broader social implications and responsibilities, advocating for a more holistic approach to technology development that prioritizes societal welfare and ethical considerations. 


Dr. Athar Osama is a social scientist, a public policy researcher, advisor, and thought leader with primary focus on education, innovation, and entrepreneurship especially towards Pakistan and the broader Muslim World. He is the founder of Pakistan Innovation Foundation and a Managing Partner for INNOVentures Global (Pvt) Ltd. He is a former Member of Pakistan’s Planning Commission where he looked after Science and Technology, ICT, and Higher Education and served as the Programme Chair for the Grand Challenge Fund at Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. At the Planning Commission, Dr. Osama was responsible for approval and oversight of $2 billion of investment in Science and Higher Education and spearheaded a $60 million pioneering national effort to create 6 National Centers of AI, Robotics, Data and Cloud, Cybersecurity, Space, and Genomics. Prior to this, Dr. Osama was the Director of Middle East and Asia for Angle Plc. – a UK-based technology commercialization consulting, management, and venture capital firm that specialized innovation programmes, incubators, and research parks in Europe, North America, and the Middle East and a Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. Dr. Osama is a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum. He also serves the Academy of the Global Teacher Prize, and World’s Best Schools Prizes. Dr. Osama graduated with a PhD in public policy from the Pardee RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica, CA and has a Bachelors degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Pakistan Airforce Academy where he won the coveted ‘Sword of Honor’.