Interview with Hamza Mohammed - Goethe-Institut Ghana

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Interview with Hamza Mohammed

Hamza Mohammed - DIAI
© Hamza Mohammed

This is a short interview with Hamza Mohammed on his 

Who are you and what is your professional background?
My name is Hamza Mohammed. I am a software developer, a teacher and a STEM Advocate.

What made you decide to take part in the Robot in Residence Project?
My background in Artificial Intelligence and Machinery exposed me to the exciting potentials that Robotics could offer and so when I saw… got… I saw the opportunity to be part of Robot in Residence, I felt excited about that. That drove me to wat to take part in this project.

What cultural skills of Ghana do you want to teach NAO?
Globally Africa and Ghana’s cultures have left us on the discussion so I want to be able to teach NAO teach Nao to speak Ghanaian languages starting starting with Ga. Also, I want to be able to tach NAO to recognize certain traditional artefacts that are specific to Ghana beginning with the Adinkra symbols. So using the inherent computer vision capabilities of NAO to identify some of these artefacts with erm… extreme accuracy.

What was your first contact with Nao like and what difficulties did you encounter?
My first encounter with NAO was a, a good one. That moment had come when I had to have my hand on NAO so I felt excited and was filled with imagination on various ways I could programme NAO, on various ways I could put my imagination into the Robot. S-o it was an exciting one.                                     With regards to the challenges, one of the challenges is that, NAO runs erm… a software that is deprecated, it runs o Python 2 and right now almost every developer is using Python 3 so erm… we … a lot of bugs had to be dealt with when trying to programme Python 3 and deploy it on the system that runs on python 2. So this was one main challenge. Other difficulty was that, there was no data on Ghanaian languages or NLP (National Language Processing on Ghanaian Languages) were basically non-existent, specifically on text to speech and speech to text. So that was one huge challenge. We had to gather data from scratch and made sure that NAO could be able to do translation with ease.

What has the overall experience in the Robot in Residency program been like for you?
The journey with NAO is a great one, such an exciting one and it’s filled with learning and erm… creativity. Everyday more ideas come on how we programme NAO and when people interact with Nao they feel excited and it gingers you to want to do more. So it has been a great experience and uhm… well for me personally, this journey has even inspired me more to delve, to do more in AI and Robotics something I have so passionate to be part.

© Goethe-Institut Ghana