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ADM+S and Australian Red Cross Partnership – Technology for Society Series

Author Leah Hawkins & Loren Dela Cruz
Date 20 December 2021

The ARC Centre for Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) and Humanitech, an initiative of the Australian Red Cross dedicated to harnessing emerging technologies for the benefit of humanity, have launched the Technology for Society online series which presents the best minds on the forefront of technological and social innovation. The series highlights the critical issues at the intersection of humanity and evolving technologies with discussions between academia, industry, and humanitarian organisations.

The series launched on 30 November 2021 with a conversation between Distinguished Professor Julian Thomas (ADM+S Centre Director), Amanda Robinson (Co-Founder and Director of Humanitech), and Ivana Jurko (Co-founder and Evidence and Influence Lead at Humanitech, and Partner Investigator at the ADM+S Centre) exploring the creation of the ADM+S Centre/Humanitech partnership, the initiatives the partnership has enabled and the value of strong cross-sector relationships.

The strategic partnership between ADM+S and Humanitech was cultivated in 2018 to inform research and ensure ethical and streamlined industry processes. It is a commitment to improving collective understanding between civil society and research organisations of the potential benefits and risks of emerging technologies and aims to inform public debate and create resources for those tackling the problems created by automated decision-making.

Prof Thomas reflected on the practical benefits to researchers, who “often get our best ideas from talking to people in organisations like the Red Cross and Humanitech… there is an understanding of the contingencies, the problems, the challenges that arise on the ground and that inspires [researchers] to reframe our questions, to go back to the problems and to rethink our research programs. It’s that sort of complex collaboration that we enjoy with Humanitech and the Red Cross.”

“Already we have had a huge amount of interaction, from projects related to humanitarian data mapping, to looking at the spread of misinformation through digital media, to research roundtables on child protection… Over time [we will be] looking at more strategic ways of bringing that incredible array of new evidence and insight back into Red Cross,” said Jurko.

Robinson attributes the success of the partnership to “relationships…built on trust, on transparency, on vulnerability… building that trust is how we enable fantastic outcomes.”