Kentaro Toyama is a computer scientist and development studies researcher, who works on the relationship of technology and international development. He is a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information.
Toyama was founding assistant director of Microsoft Research India, a Bangalore-based computer science laboratory, where he established the Technology for Emerging Markets group which conducts interdisciplinary research in the field of "information and communication technologies for development" (ICT4D). Together with AnnaLee Saxenian and Raj Reddy, he co-founded the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, a global platform for rigorous, academic, interdisciplinary research in ICT4D.
Toyama's research spans several disparate areas, including ICT4D, development studies, computer vision, human-computer interaction, geographic information systems, and multimedia. He is best known for his research in ICT4D, which includes technology projects such as MultiPoint, Text-Free User Interfaces, Warana Unwired, and Digital_Green, as well as observational studies of rural telecenters, mobile phones in developing countries, and the limits of technology for international development.
He is an outspoken critic of the "technological utopianism" that he sees in initiatives such as One Laptop Per Child, and argues that technology only magnifies existing human intent and capacity. A two-part essay making this point appears in a Boston Review forum.
Toyama's research in computer vision involves automated tracking of objects in video. A paper he co-authored with Andrew Blake was awarded the Marr Prize at the 2001 International Conference on Computer Vision.
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- Toyama, Kentaro and Ken Keniston. (2008) "Telecenter Debates". In Telecentre Magazine. March, 2008.
- Kuriyan, R., Ray, I., and Toyama, K. (2008) "Information and Communication Technologies for Development: The Bottom of the Pyramid Model in Practice". The Information Society 24(2):93-104. Mar. 2008.
- Smyth, T. N., Kumar, S., Medhi, I., and Toyama, K. (2010) "Where there's a will there's a way: mobile media sharing in urban india". In Proceedings of the 28th international Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI '10. ACM, New York, NY, 753-762.
- Toyama, Kentaro. (2010) "The Myth of Scale". TEDxTokyo. May 15, 2010.
- Toyama, Kentaro. (2010) "Can Technology End Poverty". Boston Review, Nov/Dec 2010.
- Toyama, Kentaro. (2010) "Response". Boston Review, Nov/Dec 2010.
- IEEE Computer Society. (n.d.) "CVPR and ICCV Best Paper Awards". Retrieved Oct. 15, 2010.
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