The rapid expansion of automated decision-making enabled by technologies from machine learning to the blockchain has great potential benefits, while it also creates serious new risks to human rights and welfare.

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Potential harms range from data discrimination against disadvantaged communities to the spread of disinformation for political and commercial ends. Increasing inequality, lower productivity and diminished economic security have been highlighted as risks in the coming decade.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) is a new, cross-disciplinary, national research centre, which aims to create the knowledge and strategies necessary for responsible, ethical, and inclusive automated decision-making. Funded by the Australian Research Council from 2020 to 2026, ADM+S is hosted at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia, with nodes located at eight other Australian universities, and partners around the world.

The Centre brings together leading researchers in the humanities, social and technological sciences in an international industry, research and civil society network. Its priority domains for public engagement are news and media, transport, social services and health.

The Centre’s objectives are to:

  • Generate an integrated understanding of ADM
  • Formulate world-leading policy and practice in responsible, ethical and inclusive ADM, for governments, industry and the non-profit sectors;
  • Enhance public understanding and inform public debate on ADM; and
  • Educate and train researchers and practitioners in this challenging new field.


ADM+S Director Julian Thomas
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Automation is no longer just about robots making things: increasingly, it involves computers making decisions. We rely on computers to process data, make predictions, apply rules, choose actions and determine outcomes. Automated decision-making comprises an expanding array of intelligent technologies – from deep learning to blockchains – which promise to solve challenging problems across many sectors, from healthcare and social services to transport and media.

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Centre Director Julian Thomas



The Australian Ad Observatory project

The Australian Ad Observatory project is seeking members of the public to install a browser extension that aims to provide accountability and transparency around the social media giant’s use of targeted advertising.

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Australian Ad Observatory

The Australian Search Experience project

The Australian Search Experience project is a crowdsourcing project investigating whether search results are customised based on the profiles that search engines define for us. Researchers need your help to gain valuable and otherwise unavailable insights into how search engines are shaping the information Australians are receiving online.

Become a citizen scientist and join the
Australian Search Experience

Automated Precarity

Have you recently worked in an e-commerce warehouse or fulfilment centre? Did you have any positive or negative experiences involving automation? We want to speak to you!

Interview participants will receive a $50 Visa gift voucher.

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