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

Male teacher with group of students using laptop

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.”

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Directors’ End of Year Message 2021

Friends toasting drinks during social gathering

Directors’ End of Year Message 2021

Author Distinguished Professor Julian Thomas & Professor Jean Burgess 
Date 17 December 2021

Among all the difficulties created by the pandemic, the ADM+S Centre has achieved a great deal. After our first full year of activity, we now have over 175 members working on 40 research projects with 33 partner organisations. 57 research students are now working in the Centre.

Our extraordinary progress is the result of the dedication and creativity of our researchers, our professional staff, and our close collaborations with our partners and colleagues.

We want to thank everyone for your contributions to the Centre’s achievements this year and look forward to seeing you in 2022!

Best wishes for the summer break,
Distinguished Professor Julian Thomas, Centre Director
&
Professor Jean Burgess, Associate Director

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Australian Research Council officially launches the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making & Society

RMIT University Interim Vice-Chancellor Dionne Higgins marks the launch of the Centre with ribbon cutting

Australian Research Council officially launches the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making & Society

Author Loren Dela Cruz 
Date 10 December 2021

The Australian Research Council officially announced the launch of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making & Society (ADM+S) at a reception held on Tuesday 7 December 2021.

Supported by grants of up to $71 million over 7 years, the new, cross-disciplinary, national research centre, aims to create the knowledge and strategies necessary for responsible, ethical, and inclusive automated decision-making. The Centre, which is led by Distinguished Professor Julian Thomas and Professor Jean Burgess, is based at RMIT University in Melbourne with nodes located at 8 other Australian universities, and partnerships with organisations around the world.

Australian Research Council Chief Executive Officer Professor Sue Thomas commended the Centre for “assembling a strong and diverse team from across social and technological disciplines” to investigate the advances and applications of automated decision-making in Australia.

True to the collaborative ethos of the Centre, the launch event was held in-person in Melbourne with satellite events in Sydney and Brisbane, and live-streamed online.

Melbourne Launch Event
Melbourne Launch at RMIT University

 

Sydney Launch Event at The University of Sydney
Sydney Launch at The University of Sydney

 

Brisbane Launch at QUT
Brisbane Launch at QUT

 

“The Centre brings together an exceptional team of established and emerging researchers. We are delighted to be now well underway, with the strong support of the ARC and all our partner organisations,” said Prof Thomas.

The event closed with a short video highlighting the achievements of the ADM+S Centre since commencement in August 2020 and featured researchers from various research programs and focus areas. Watch it here.

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Telstra partners with ADM+S Centre to develop the first comprehensive study of digital inclusion in remote First Nations communities

Two people using tablet devices

Telstra partners with ADM+S Centre to develop the first comprehensive study of digital inclusion in remote First Nations communities

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 18 November 2021

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) has partnered with Telstra on a four-year study which will measure digital inclusion across Australia’s remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The objectives of the project titled ‘Mapping the Digital Gap’ are to:

  1. Generate the most detailed account to date of the distribution of digital inclusion and uses of digital and media services within remote First Nations communities, and to track changes over time; and
  2. Support the development of appropriate community-driven strategies for addressing identified barriers to digital inclusion and building local capabilities to enable informed decision-making. These capabilities include the relevant data collection and analysis skills involved in the measurement of digital inclusion.

The project comes at a critical time with a new Closing the Gap target to close the digital inclusion gap by 2026, and with the digital transformation to online service delivery driving the need for improved access, affordability and digital ability throughout remote Australia.

Lauren Ganley, Head of First Nations Strategy & Engagement at Telstra, will work alongside ADM+S researchers on this comprehensive study, which is being undertaken in partnership with local organisations in up to 12 remote First Nations communities spread throughout remote Australia.

“Improving digital inclusion is a fundamental part of Telstra’s purpose – to build a connected future so everyone can thrive,” said Lauren.

“We can’t improve inclusion if we don’t properly understand the scale of the challenge and the barriers faced by remote First Nations communities. Which is why this research is so important and so timely.”

The project builds on the work of the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII), an annual study of Australia’s online participation, led by Telstra, the ADM+S Centre based at the School of Media and Communication at RMIT, and the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne.

ADM+S Centre Director Prof Julian Thomas said, “We’re delighted to be working with Telstra and First Nations communities on this timely project. We believe that there is an urgent need to improve access to digital services, affordability and digital ability for First Nations peoples across Australia”.

For more information visit the project page.

 

For media enquiries please contact:

  • ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society at RMIT: Loren Dela Cruz on +613 9925 0226 or loren.delacruz@rmit.edu.au
  • Telstra: Steve Carey on 0413 988 640 or media@team.telstra.com

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5 ADM+S Investigators Recognised in The Australian’s List of Top Researchers

5 ADM+S Investigators Recognised in The Australian’s List of Top Researchers

Author Loren Dela Cruz & Kathy Nickels
Date 15 November 2021

Prof Axel Bruns, Prof Jean Burgess, Prof Deborah Lupton, Prof Sarah Pink, and Prof Haiqing Yu from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) have been recognised in The Australian’s 2021 Research Magazine which lists “the best researchers and the best research institutions in Australia” (The Australian 2021).

The annual Research Magazine acknowledges the talent and dedication of Australian researchers by comprehensively scanning online data to identify the best researcher and the best research institution in each field, based on the excellence of their research and the impact it has in discovery and scholarship.

ADM+S Chief Investigators Prof Axel Bruns, Prof Jean Burgess and Prof Sarah Pink were listed among Australia’s top 40 lifetime achievers in research, chosen for the consistent excellence of their work and the impact they’ve had in the field of Humanities, Literature & Arts.

ADM+S Chief Investigator Prof Deborah Lupton was named the top researcher in the field of Communication, and Humanities, Literature & Arts (general), and Associate Investigator Dr Haiqing Yu was recognised as the top researcher in Chinese Studies & History in Australia’s top 250 researchers in 2021.

Read The Australian’s 2021 Research Magazine.

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Call for Participants: Seniors Using Transport in Melbourne

Grandpa and son travelling on public transport

Call for Participants: Seniors Using Transport in Melbourne

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 11 November 2021

ADM+S PhD Student Jiyoon Lee, based at Monash University, is investigating how to improve the design of transport services for senior citizens in Melbourne. Her research project ‘Mobility-as-a-Service for Senior Citizens’ (project ID 30005) focuses on the integration of mobility services in a single digital platform.

As part of her fieldwork, Jiyoon is calling for participants aged 65 years or older, who use private or public transport in Melbourne to get involved in her research. Participants will be asked to complete a short survey, take part in two 1-hour interviews, and keep a travel diary for a week. As a token of appreciation, each participant will receive a $50 gift card at the completion of the research.

Based on the insights gathered, Jiyoon will propose design strategies and guidelines for future digital transport services to support seniors’ mobility experience and their social inclusion.

To participate in this project or for more information, please contact Jiyoon Lee at jiyoon.lee@monash.edu.

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Event: Intersectionalities of Automated Decision Making and Race/Ethnicity

Algorithms of Oppression

Event: Intersectionalities of Automated Decision Making and Race/Ethnicity

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 27 October 2021

Join us for a critical dialogue with Assoc. Prof Safiya Noble, Prof Bronwyn Carlson and Karaitiana Taiuru,  hosted by the ADM+S Centre’s Social Services Focus Area.

Automated decision making (ADM) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are rapidly expanding into all aspects of our lives and radically reshaping our experiences of ourselves as well as our relations with one another, governmental entities, and corporations. Often framed as efficient, accurate and objective, these technologies can have widely disparate impacts across populations and societies, often exacerbating pre-existing inequalities, discrimination, and disadvantage. This event is part of a series of critical engagements with the various ways ADM/AI intersect with race/ethnicity, gender/sex, class, dis/ability, and space.

Wednesday 17 November 2021
10am- 11.30am (AEDT)
Online via Zoom
Register here

For more information, please visit the event page or contact Prof Paul Henman at p.henman@uq.edu.au.

Presenters:

  • Assoc. Prof Safiya U. Noble is an Associate Professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she serves as the Co-Founder and Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2). She is the author of a best-selling book on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines, entitled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press 2018) and co-editor of The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Culture and Class Online (Peter Lang 2016) and Emotions, Technology & Design (Elsevier 2016)
  • Prof Bronwyn Carlson is an Aboriginal woman who was born on and lives on D’harawal Country in NSW Australia and is Professor of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University. She is also the founding and managing editor of the Journal of Global Indigeneity and the Director of The Centre for Global Indigenous Futures. Bronwyn is the author of Indigenous Digital Life: The Practice and Politics of Being Indigenous on Social Media (Palgrave 2021) and The Politics of Identity: Who Counts as Aboriginal Today? (Aboriginal Studies Press 2016), and co-editor of Indigenous People Rise Up: The Global Ascendancy of Social Media Activism (Rutgers UP 2021).
  • Karaitiana Taiuru JP is an interdisciplinary Māori academic and activist. He is an advocate and proponent for digital Māori rights, cultural appropriation, data sovereignty/digital colonialism, te reo Māori revitalisation with technology, and Māori representation and Intellectual Property Rights.

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ADM+S Researchers Speak at 2021 Australian Social Policy Conference

Australian Social Policy Conference

ADM+S Researchers Speak at 2021 Australian Social Policy Conference

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 25 October 2021

Several researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making & Society (ADM+S) are slated to present at the 2021 Australian Social Policy Conference (ASPC) being held online over the next two weeks from October 25 to November 5.

The biennial conference, hosted by the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre, is the country’s leading event for the discussion and dissemination of social policy research.

The ASPC provides a forum for leading national and international researchers and analysts from government and community social welfare sectors in Australia and internationally to present their research findings and debate their implications, attracting participants from academia, government and the community social welfare sector internationally.

“This is the first time the conference has featured sessions on the role of digital technology in social policy and service delivery. The centrality of people from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society demonstrate how its work is leading these important research agenda, policy developments and public debates,” said ADM+S Chief Investigator Professor Paul Henman who is chairing a number of sessions at the conference.

Conference presentations by ADM+S Centre researchers include:

  • Mapping Automated Decision Making in Social Services in Australia
    Dr Lyndal Sleep, Brooke Coco & Prof Paul Henman, University of Queensland
  • Outsourced ADM in disability provisioning: lessons for Australia from the US and the UK
    Dr Georgia van Toorn, UNSW Sydney
  • Encountering the Digital Welfare State: Voices at the interface
    Dr Scarlet Wilcock, University of Sydney
    with Dr Roba Abbas & Dr Andrew Whelan, University of Wollongong
  • Equity and Personalisation in the NDIS: ADM Compatible or not?
    Prof Terry Carney, University of Sydney
  • Administrative Justice in a Digital World: Challenges and Solutions
    Prof Paul Henman, University of Queensland
  • Triaged out? People with disability and critical care decisions in the COVID pandemic
    Prof Jackie Leach Scully, UNSW Sydney
  • The participatory dynamic animates the CRPD: Nothing about Us Unless it is Led by Us
    Prof Paul Harpur, University of Queensland

For more information relating to the event, please visit the conference website or email ASPC@unsw.edu.au.

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Public Interest Litigation for AI Accountability

PROJECT SUMMARY

Woman sitting down with laptop

Public Interest Litigation for AI Accountability

Focus Area(s): News and Media, Health, Social Services, Transport and Mobilities
Research Program(s): Institutions 

If you have been harmed by bad automated decision-making, from robots to loan assessments, what can you do to right the wrong? What can the law do to help you? A growing number of public controversies about discriminatory, unpredictable and dangerous automated decision-making has raised questions about the most effective methods of accountability.

Through qualitative interviews with stakeholders (including class action and pro bono lawyers), this project seeks to identify the opportunities, enablers and barriers for public interest litigation to promote accountability and fairness in automated decision-making.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Chief Investigator Nic Suzor

Prof Nicolas Suzor

Lead Investigator

Learn more

Zahra Stardust profile picture

Dr Zahra Stardust

Research Fellow

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Henry Fraser

Dr Henry Fraser

Research Fellow

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Ecological Implications of Data Centres

PROJECT SUMMARY

Data centre

Ecological Implications of Data Centres

Focus Area(s): All
Research Program: Institutions 

The project seeks to understand how companies, public agencies and civil society address the environmental conditions and limitations facing the establishment and management of data centres in urban areas.

A central part of data centre management is heat management: servers produce heat, and as they are gathered in large numbers in close areas, temperatures rise raising the risk of fire. To overcome this, data centre operators have various techniques to cool down these facilities and avoid any risks of data loss caused by fires.

Thus, this project will ask: what shapes the environmental impacts of data centres cooling infrastructures?

In order to address this question, we will take as a case study the rapid growth of data centres in Marseille (France), which is particularly interesting as this city is in a warm climate, making the issue of heat management more difficult there than in the north of Europe.

This project is conducted in collaboration with Dr Clément Marquet (Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France).

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Investigator Christine Parker

Prof Christine Parker

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Fiona Haines

Prof Fiona Haines

Associate Investigator

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Loup Cellard

Dr Loup Cellard

Research Fellow

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ADM+S Investigator Karen Yeung

Prof Karen Yeung

Partner Investigator

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PARTNERS

Université de Technologie de Compiègne Logo

Université de Technologie de Compiègne

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Digital inclusion improving nationally, but more to do on affordability and equal access

Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2021 (ADII)

Digital inclusion improving nationally, but more to do on affordability and equal access

Source Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2021
Date 15 October 2021

The Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2021 (ADII), published today, shows digital inclusion at the national level is improving, but a substantial number of Australians remain excluded.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic requiring greater reliance on online technologies to manage daily life, digital inclusion is more important than ever; and while the nation has seen improvements overall, these improvements are not evenly shared by all Australians.

Key findings from the 2021 Index:

  • Affordability remains central to closing the digital divide. Based on our Affordability measure, 14% of all Australians would need to pay more than 10% of their household income to gain quality, and reliable connectivity.
  • The national Index score in 2021 is 71.1, up 3.6 points from the 2020 score of 67.5.
  • Australian Capital Territory ranked highest with an Index score of 77. The least digitally included states are South Australia (69) and Tasmania (66).
  • The divide between metropolitan and regional areas has narrowed but remains marked. Regional areas recorded an Index score in 2021 of 67.4. This is 3.6 points less than the national average (71.1), and 5.5 points less than metropolitan Australia (72.9).
  • The percentage of highly excluded Australians has decreased between 2020 and 2021. In 2020, 17% of the Australian population were highly excluded (defined as recording an Index score of 45 or below). In 2021, this has dropped to 11% of the population.
  • The percentage of excluded Australians (defined as recording an Index score of above 45 and below 61) has not changed since 2020 and remains at 17% of the national population.
  • Taken together, the number of highly excluded and excluded Australians is substantial, equalling 28% of the national population in 2021.
  • Cyber safety is also a significant concern for highly excluded and excluded Australians, with this concern rising 3% between 2020 and 2021. In 2021, 20% of highly excluded and excluded Australians are so concerned about privacy and scams that it limits their internet use.

*ADII scores range from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the greater the level of digital inclusion. ADII scores are relative: they allow comparisons across different social groups and geographic areas, and over time.

* ADII scores may not add up due to rounding.

“Recent experience has underlined the importance of affordable and accessible digital services for all Australians. The Index results show we have more work to do to ensure that all Australians are included as we move online,” said Distinguished Professor Julian Thomas, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society at RMIT.

For Telstra, understanding the gaps across Australia helps them make sure they’re directing their support to the right areas.

“This data helps us make sure that we’re targeting our support to areas where we can really make a difference,” said Lyndall Stoyles, Telstra’s Group Executive for Sustainability, External Affairs and Legal.

“We’re building a connected future so everyone can thrive and, so that everyone truly means everyone,” Ms Stoyles said.

“Telstra runs a range of targeted programs that help people access, afford and develop digital ability whether that’s helping seniors be more tech savvy or providing supported services for vulnerable customers.”

First developed in 2015, the ADII is an annual study led by Telstra, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society at RMIT, and the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) Swinburne that provides a comprehensive picture of Australia’s online participation by measuring three key dimensions of digital inclusion: Access, Affordability, and Digital Ability.

The Index helps focus policymakers, businesses, and community organisations on the issue of digital inclusion and importantly informs the development of more effective policies, products, and programs to improve digital inclusion.

“The changes to Australians’ daily lives since the emergence of COVID-19 include huge digital uplift so that we can do more online,” said CSI Swinburne’s Director, Distinguished Professor Jo Barraket.

“This has deepened the digital divide and we need more than ever to understand and address the factors that are leaving people and places behind.”

Updates to the Index in 2021:

The Index was updated in 2021 using a new data set and methodology in response to a series of emerging challenges and opportunities, including:

  • Rapid and ongoing changes in digital technologies.
  • The growing significance of the online distribution and consumption of consumer and public services.
  • Maximising data utility and responding to requests from stakeholders for richer data insights that include the public release of more of the data that underpins the index.
  • Interest from stakeholders in having access to a customised digital inclusion survey and reporting tool they could use to measure digital inclusion in their own communities.

The updated Index is underpinned by a purpose-built digital inclusion survey and also includes new interactive data dashboards.

For more information visit the Australian Digital Inclusion Index website.

For media interviews please contact:

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Megan Kelleher and Kelsie Nabben Participate in International Research Sprint

Megan Kelleher (Left) and Kelsie Nabben (Right)
Megan Kelleher (Left) and Kelsie Nabben (Right)

Megan Kelleher and Kelsie Nabben Participate in International Research Sprint

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 12 October 2021

ADM+S PhD researchers Megan Kelleher and Kelsie Nabben, both based at RMIT University, have been selected to participate in Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and The New School’s Platform Cooperativism Consortium Fall 2021 Research Sprint.

The Alternative Data Futures: Cooperative Principles, Data Trusts, and the Digital Economy Research Sprint brings together researchers and practitioners from around the world to investigate the design and dilemmas of data trusts and cooperatives and how they can help communities.

Megan and Kelsie are among the 12 participants who are taking part in the Sprint—a mix of early-career researchers, cooperative leaders, and activists from 8 countries across 4 continents.

Kelsie said she is excited to work with “some of the best researchers and speakers on data governance in the world. It is an incredible opportunity to learn and produce research on community data governance models, that shape how society operates.”

“I am honoured to join an inspiring cohort of cutting-edge thinkers who are working on and shaping the tools and frameworks that will catalyse the system reset that the world so desperately needs,” said Megan.

The virtual sprint is currently underway and will culminate in an international conference presentation.

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Participate in the Automated Decision-Making Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

Blurred people walking across yellow crossing

Participate in the Automated Decision-Making Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 12 October 2021

The ADM+S Centre’s Wikimedian-In-Residence, Dr Amanda Lawrence, is hosting an Automated Decision-Making Wikipedia Edit-a-thon to improve the information related to ADM on Wikipedia, Wikidata and other Wikimedia platforms.

The edit-a-thon will focus on refining this stub page on automated decision-making as well as improving and creating pages for related content, people and organisations.

ADM+S Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
10am- 1pm
Wednesday 27 October 2021
Online
Register here

Dr Amanda Lawrence is an Australian researcher and librarian specialising in open knowledge, research communication and research infrastructure for policy and practice. Amanda is Secretary for Wikimedia Australia Committee and has been an editor of Wikipedia and Wikidata since 2015.

If you have any questions please contact Amanda at amanda.lawrence@rmit.edu.au.

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ADM+S Launches Media Training Pilot Program

Two women talking at table

ADM+S Launches Media Training Pilot Program

Author Sally Storey
Date 24 September 2021

The ADM+S Centre’s Research Training and Career Development Committee have selected the first round of participants to take part in a bespoke media training program.

The program will consist of tailored, private sessions with global branding and design expert Dr Anna Harrison who will help researchers develop their skills in communications, research translation, personal branding, and media presence. Participants will be equipped with the confidence to engage with media and be on their way to building their profile as a researcher, lending credibility to their own career and that of the collective ADM+S Centre.

Congratulations to the following ADM+S researchers selected to participate in our pilot program:

  • Dr Henry Fraser (Research Fellow, Queensland University of Technology)
  • Megan Kelleher (PhD Student, RMIT University)
  • Dr Anjalee de Silva (Research Fellow, University of Melbourne)
  • Dr Emma Quilty (Research Fellow, Monash University)
  • Laura McLean (PhD Student, Monash University)
  • Nataliya Ilyushina (Research Fellow, RMIT University)

A waitlist is now open for ADM+S researchers interested in participating in the media training program in future. To join the waitlist please contact adms@rmit.edu.au.

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Meet Lauren Kelly, ADM+S Scholarship Recipient

Scholarship Recipient

Meet Lauren Kelly, ADM+S Scholarship Recipient

Author(s) Sally Storey and Loren Dela Cruz
Date 22 September 2021

After completing a Master of International Relations at the University of Melbourne, Lauren Kelly had always been interested in pursuing her PhD but was waiting for the right opportunity. When she came across the ADM+S Centre’s Scholarship, she knew it would be a great fit for her research interests in labour, technology, and the future of work.

“Receiving an ADM+S PhD scholarship means a lot to me. I’ve already learned so much from this community of incredible scholars. It feels good to be contributing the broader goals of the Centre and I really hope to give back as much as I can, ” says Lauren.

Growing up, the topic of work was a big one in Lauren’s family and early on she became aware that unfair or exploitative working conditions can affect a whole family. Having worked a lot of difficult jobs herself, Lauren’s interest in work and labour conditions deepened.

“In my early 20s I was unironically fired from a call centre for reading Marx’s “Capital” in between calls (we weren’t allowed to read)! Now, reflecting on that is quite funny and I realise it was definitely a life changing moment for me. I got interested in unionism after that and things went from there,” says Lauren who has now worked in the Australian union movement for five years.

Lauren’s research at the ADM+S Centre is interdisciplinary, spanning digital media, labour studies and science and technology studies. She is investigating automated decision-making systems in Australia’s supermarket warehouses, and considers what technological change means for workers. Her research suggests a reimagining of the Australian supermarket is currently underway, speeding up the trend towards on-demand and precarious labour. Lauren has recently published an article ‘Coles and Woolworths are moving to robot warehouses and on-demand labour as home deliveries soar’ in The Conversation and was interviewed by ABC Radio’s James Valentine.

When considering her future hopes and career aspirations, Lauren seeks to influence public narratives surrounding automation and the future of work in Australia and hopes to publish her PhD research as a book.

Follow Lauren Kelly on Twitter @laurenkatekelly.

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Meet Rakesh Kumar, ADM+S Scholarship Recipient

Scholarship Recipient

Meet Rakesh Kumar, ADM+S Scholarship Recipient

Author Sally Storey
Date 21 September 2021

Rakesh Kumar is a recipient of an ADM+S PhD Scholarship at the Centre’s University of Western Sydney node, under the supervision of Chief Investigator Prof Heather Horst.

With experience in both the corporate and private sectors in technology and programmes enhancing employability of students and young people, Rakesh is interested in examining the algorithmic conditioning of platform decisions for migrant digital businesses and whether biases faced by migrants in real life is mitigated or exacerbated by these algorithms.

Rakesh’s thesis ‘Platforms, Labour, Migration: Entrepreneurial platform work among Indian migrants in Australia’ will look at entrepreneurial work on digital platforms performed by Indian migrants in Australia, specifically around digital food and online wellness.

Through his research Rakesh hopes to understand how and why Indian migrants are exploring entrepreneurial work on digital platforms. Further, how platforms condition the entrepreneurial work experience of migrants and issues of bias, control and surveillance around recommendation engines and predictive analytics. Rakesh also aims to explore whether this new trend is structural and conceptualise issues around capital, labour in this phenomenon.

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Prof Deborah Lupton receives 2021 DASSH International Award

Deborah Lupton

Prof Deborah Lupton receives 2021 DASSH International Award

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 21 September 2021

ADM+S Chief Investigator Prof Deborah Lupton is the recipient of the 2021 Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (DASSH) Awards for Leadership in Excellence and Innovation – International Award.

Prof Lupton’s innovative project ‘Doing fieldwork in a pandemic’ was recognised for “providing a wonderful set of resources for scholars around the world [and] has shone a light on the creativity and capacity of HASS (Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) researchers in Australia and New Zealand” (DASSH 2021).

“Like many other social researchers around the world, I was faced with how to continue with my projects when we and our research participants were subjected to COVID lockdown restrictions. I jumped onto Google Docs and started up a crowdsourced resource for providing ideas that quickly grew to almost 40 pages long. It was great to see how many researchers globally contributed to or shared the resource, helping projects move forward during this difficult time,” says Prof Lupton.

The annual DASSH Awards celebrate the outstanding work of staff in Australasian humanities, social sciences and arts faculties each year and promote their achievements across the region, with the aim of inspiring new initiatives and sharing best practice approaches.

The recipient of the International Award is selected based on Excellence, as demonstrated by measurable impacts of an initiative led by the nominee which aims to improve the international connections of a HASS faculty, discipline or team, and Innovation, as demonstrated by the creativity and/or novelty of the initiative led by the nominee.

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Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2021 Launch

Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2021 Launch

Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2021 Launch

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 20 September 2021

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society at RMIT, the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne, and Telstra are proud to launch the first findings from our refreshed 2021 Australian Digital Inclusion Index.

Join us to find out how Australia is tracking, gain insights for better digital inclusion programs, and take a first look at the new dashboards which put the Index data in your hands.

Friday 15 October 2021
1.30-2.30pm
Online
Register here 

Presenters:

  • Lyndall Stoyles, Telstra Group General Counsel & GE Sustainability, External Affairs & Legal
  • Distinguished Professor Julian Thomas, Director, ARC Centre for Excellence of Automated Decision-Making and Society, RMIT University
  • Distinguished Professor Jo Barraket, Director, Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University of Technology

For more information visit digitalinclusionindex.org.au

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Transparent Machines: From Unpacking Bias to Actionable Explainability

PROJECT SUMMARY

Person typing on computer

Transparent Machines: From Unpacking Bias to Actionable Explainability

Focus Area(s): News and Media, Health, Social Services, Transport and Mobilities
Research Program: Machines

ADMs, their software, algorithms, and models, are often designed as “black boxes” with little efforts placed on understanding how they work. This lack of understanding does not only impact the final users of ADMs, but also the stakeholders and the developers, who need to be accountable for the systems they are creating. This problem is often exacerbated by the inherent bias coming from the data from which the models are often trained on.

Further, the wide-spread usage of deep learning models has led to increasing number of minimally-interpretable models being used, as opposed to traditional models like decision trees, or even Bayesian and statistical machine learning models.

Explanations of models are also needed to reveal potential biases in the models themselves and assist with their debiasing.

This project aims to unpack the biases in models that may come from the underlying data, or biases in software (e.g. a simulation) that could be designed with a specific purpose and angle from the developers’ point-of-view. This project also aims to investigate techniques to generate actionable explanations, for a range of problems and data types and modality, from large-scale unstructured data, to highly varied sensor data and multimodal data.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Investigator Flora Salim

Prof Flora Salim

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Paul Henman

Prof Paul Henman

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Mark Sanderson

Prof Mark Sanderson

Chief Investigator

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Daniel Angus

Prof Dan Angus

Associate Investigator

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Jeffrey Chan

Dr Jeffrey Chan

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Falk Scholer

Prof Falk Scholer

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Damiano Spina

Dr Damiano Spina

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Maarten de Rijke

Prof Maarten de Rijke

Partner Investigator

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PARTNERS

University of Amsterdam logo

University of Amsterdam

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Quantifying and Measuring Bias and Engagement

PROJECT SUMMARY

Man working on laptop

Quantifying and Measuring Bias and Engagement

Focus Area(s): News & Media, Health
Research Program: Machines, Data

Automated decision making systems and machines – including search engines, intelligent assistants, and recommender systems – are designed, evaluated, and optimised by defining frameworks that model the users who are going to interact with them. These models are typically a simplified representation of users (e.g., using the relevance of items delivered to the user as a surrogate for system quality) to operationalise the development process of such systems. A grand open challenge is to make these frameworks more complete, by including new aspects such as fairness, that are as important as the traditional definitions of quality, to inform the design, evaluation and optimisation of such systems.

Recent developments in machine learning and information access communities attempt to define fairness-aware metrics to incorporate into these frameworks. However, there are a number of research questions related to quantifying and measuring bias and engagement that remain unexplored:

  • Is it possible to measure bias by observing users interacting with search engines, recommender systems, or intelligent assistants?
  • How do users perceive fairness, bias and trust? How can these perceptions be measured effectively?
  • To what extent can sensors in wearable devices and interaction logging (e.g., CTR, app swipes, notification dismissal, etc) inform the measurement of bias and engagement?
  • Are the implicit signals captured from sensors and interaction logs correlated with explicit human ratings w.r.t. bias and engagement?

The research aims to address the research questions above by focusing on information access systems that involve automated decision-making components. This is the case for search engines, intelligent assistants, and recommender systems. The methodologies considered to address these questions include lab user studies (e.g., Wizard of Oz experiments with intelligent assistants), and the use of crowdsourcing platforms (e.g., Amazon Mechanical Turk). The data collection processes include: logging human-system interactions; sensor data collected using wearable devices; and questionnaires.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Investigator Damiano Spina

Dr Damiano Spina

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Anthony McCosker

Assoc Prof Anthony McCosker

Chief Investigator

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Sarah Pink

Prof Sarah Pink

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Mark Sanderson

Prof Mark Sanderson

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Associate Investigator Jenny Kennedy

Dr Jenny Kennedy

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Falk Scholer

Prof Falk Scholer

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Flora Salim

Prof Flora Salim

Associate Investigator

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Danula Hettiachchi

Dr Danula Hettiachchi

Research Fellow

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PARTNERS

ABC logo

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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AlgorithmWatch Logo

Algorithm Watch (Germany)

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Bendigo Health logo

Bendigo Hospital

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Google Logo

Google Australia

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RMIT ABC Fact Check Logo

RMIT ABC Fact Check

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Governing ADM Use

PROJECT SUMMARY

Blurred people in busy precinct

Governing ADM Use

Focus Area(s): All
Research Program: Institutions 

This project examines possibilities for democratic practice, institutions and governance given automated decision-making (ADM). It focuses on challenges to and opportunities for liberal and democratic institutions and governance presented by ADM.

The project aims to bridge analysis of ADM’s deployment across different domains with scholarly literature on republican and positive freedom, the rule of law and liberal democratic rights.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Investigator Christine Parker

Prof Christine Parker

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Associate Investigator Jake Goldenfein

Dr Jake Goldenfein

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Fiona Haines

Prof Fiona Haines

Associate Investigator

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Loup Cellard

Dr Loup Cellard

Research Fellow

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ADM+S Investigator Karen Yeung

Prof Karen Yeung

Partner Investigator

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Democratic Practices of Governance Given ADM

PROJECT SUMMARY

Busy street crossing aerial view

Democratic Practices of Governance Given ADM

Focus Area(s): All
Research Program: Institutions 

This project examines possibilities for democratic practice, institutions and governance given automated decision-making (ADM). It focuses on challenges to and opportunities for liberal and democratic institutions and governance presented by ADM. The project aims to bridge analysis of ADM’s deployment across different domains with scholarly literature on republican and positive freedom, the rule of law and liberal democratic rights.

Overall, the project seeks to develop a theoretically rich analysis of democracy and freedom given ADM and apply the analysis to specific examples of current regulatory and democratic challenge.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Andrew Kenyon

Prof Andrew Kenyon

Lead Investigator

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Mark Andrejevic

Prof Mark Andrejevic

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Christine Parker

Prof Christine Parker

Chief Investigator

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Julian Thomas

Prof Julian Thomas

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Associate Investigator Jake Goldenfein

Dr Jake Goldenfein

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Fiona Haines

Prof Fiona Haines

Associate Investigator

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Andrew Roberts

Prof Andrew Roberts

Associate Investigator

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Anjalee de Silva

Dr Anjalee de Silva

Research Fellow

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Aitor Jiménez

Dr Aitor Jiménez

Research Fellow

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ADM+S Investigator Ivana Jurko

Ivana Jurko

Partner Investigator

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Australian supermarkets move to robot warehouses and on-demand labour

Woman online grocery shopping

Australian supermarkets move to robot warehouses and on-demand labour

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 16 September 2021

As lockdowns continue across Australia, many households are doing something they may not have considered just 18 months ago: ordering groceries online.

Australia’s supermarket duopoly, Coles and Woolworths, have raced to implement new technology and transform labour arrangements to keep up with the e-grocery boom.
Both are investing in “smart” warehousing and distribution systems with various degrees of automation, as well as making extensive use of app-driven gig workers for grocery picking and delivery via platforms such as Uber and Airtasker.

ADM+S PhD Candidate, Lauren Kelly, is investigating automated decision-making systems in Australia’s supermarket warehouses, and considers what technological change means for workers. Her research suggests a reimagining of the Australian supermarket is currently underway, speeding up the trend towards on-demand and precarious labour.

In a recent article in The Conversation, Lauren discusses shifts in technology and labour relations currently underway in Australia’s supermarket duopoly. To meet surging demand for grocery home delivery during lockdowns, Coles and Woolworths have formalised partnerships with the gig economy to mobilise on-demand workers. Alongside these changes, both supermarkets are closing their existing–and largely unionised–warehouses to make way for “smart” automated facilities.

She discusses these changes in an interview with James Valentine on ABC Radio where she states “There are big changes taking place on two separate fronts. The first is in the warehouse… and the second is the increased reliance on precarious and on-demand labour to carry out the core business of the supermarket.”

Follow Lauren Kelly on Twitter @laurenkatekelly.

SEE ALSO

The Coronavirus Impact

PROJECT SUMMARY

COVID19 Stay safe on mobile device

The Coronavirus Impact

Focus Area(s): All
Research Program: Data

Given the role that automated systems are playing in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from symptom tracking to the dissemination of (mis-) information, this project contributes to a range of related initiatives across the Centre that respond to the exigencies of the pandemic. The focus of this project will be on issues related to automated data collection, sorting, and response in pandemic contexts, and beyond.

As sensor systems are built out and repurposed to collect data in response to the pandemic, including workplace monitoring, contact tracing, or social distancing compliance, new data streams are being generated which are likely to endure beyond the pandemic for a range of uses and raises a host of issues.

RESEARCHERS

Mark Andrejevic

Prof Mark Andrejevic

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Nic Suzor

Prof Nicolas Suzor

Chief Investigator

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Julian Thomas

Prof Julian Thomas

Chief Investigator

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Kimberlee Weatherall

Prof Kimberlee Weatherall

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Associate Investigator Jake Goldenfein

Dr Jake Goldenfein

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Andrew Kenyon

Prof Andrew Kenyon

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Ellie Rennie

Prof Ellie Rennie

Associate Investigator

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Andrew Roberts

Prof Andrew Roberts

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Robert Sparrow

Prof Robert Sparrow

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Haiqing Yu

Assoc Prof Haiqing Yu

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Ivana Jurko

Ivana Jurko

Partner Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Frank Pasquale

Prof Frank Pasquale

Partner Investigator

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PARTNERS

Australian Red Cross Logo

Australian Red Cross

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Brooklyn Law School logo

Brooklyn Law School

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Data and Society logo

Data & Society Research Institute (US)

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OVIC Logo

Victorian Information Commissioner

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When All Data is Health Data

PROJECT SUMMARY

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When All Data is Health Data

Focus Area(s): Health
Research Program: Data

Thanks to the development of automated, passive, sensor systems with algorithmic forms of processing and machine learning, a growing range of data has become relevant to processes of diagnosis and care. Google, for example, envisions that smart speakers will one day be able to diagnose the onset of Alzheimer’s before individuals or caregivers notice symptoms, and the same is true for a variety of illnesses and conditions ranging from the flu to depression. By the same token, researchers have scraped publicly available social media posts to search for patterns that correlate online behaviour with medical conditions. As tech companies move further into the health care sector, all kinds of data can do double duty as health data in ways that may have important benefits, but also raise issues of privacy and data protection.

This project considers the ethical issues raised by new streams of health data, including how best to regulate the use of the data, its storage, and the infrastructures that collect it. It will also explore the ethical and practical issues raised by emerging forms of automated diagnostics and develop recommendations for regulating the data collection infrastructure and the health uses that derive from ubiquitous data collection.

RESEARCHERS

Mark Andrejevic

Prof Mark Andrejevic

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Anthony McCosker

Assoc Prof Anthony McCosker

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Kath Albury

Prof Kath Albury

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Associate Investigator Jake Goldenfein

Dr Jake Goldenfein

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Flora Salim

Prof Flora Salim

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Robert Sparrow

Prof Robert Sparrow

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Damiano Spina

Dr Damiano Spina

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Frank Pasquale

Prof Frank Pasquale

Partner Investigator

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PARTNERS

Australian Red Cross Logo

Australian Red Cross

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OVIC Logo

Victorian Information Commissioner

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Data mapping and ADM to advance humanitarian action and preparedness

PROJECT SUMMARY

Volunteer charity workers

Data mapping and ADM to advance humanitarian action and preparedness

Focus Area(s): Social Services, News & Media
Research Program: Data

Humanitarian organisations and other NGOs are undergoing significant digital transformation. In a complicated digital media environment, new analytics capabilities can improve the role and effectiveness of organisations like Australian Red Cross in building community resilience, expanding volunteer networks, and informing rapid response. New practices for ethically sharing and analysing social media activity and public and open datasets can be combined with internal organisational data analysis to produce intelligent responses and predictive models.

This project aims to operationalise new data partnerships and implement data analysis to improve humanitarian sector work. It contributes to developing new techniques for improving data-driven mapping of community strengths, knowledge and resilience. The work will improve advocacy and preparedness and enhance Red Cross’s data analytics capability.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Chief Investigator Anthony McCosker

Assoc Prof Anthony McCosker

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Kath Albury

Prof Kath Albury

Associate Investigator

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Daniel Angus

Prof Dan Angus

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Rowan Wilken

Assoc Prof Rowan Wilken

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Ivana Jurko

Ivana Jurko

Partner Investigator

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Christian Stenta

Christian Stenta

Partner Investigator

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Yong-Bin Kang

Dr Yong-Bin Kang

Research Fellow

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PARTNERS

Australian Red Cross Logo

Australian Red
Cross

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Everyday Data Cultures

PROJECT SUMMARY

Businessman using cell phone on subway train

Everyday Data Cultures

Focus Area(s): All
Research Program: Data

This project explores the role of everyday data practices and literacies in automated decision-making. The project develops our new conceptual framework of everyday data cultures, which is based on the cultural studies of everyday life. The project will produce a major monograph (forthcoming with Polity Press in 2022).

To test and further elaborate this framework in real-world settings, we undertake a number of additional empirical case studies using a combination of hybrid digital and qualitative methods. The project provides a framework for integrating everyday community experience into data projects in a variety of sectors.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Associate Director Jean Burgess

Prof Jean Burgess

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Anthony McCosker

Assoc Prof Anthony McCosker

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Rowan Wilken

Assoc Prof Rowan Wilken

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Kath Albury

Prof Kath Albury

Associate Investigator

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Mapping ADM Across Sectors

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Mapping ADM Across Sectors

Focus Area(s): All
Research Program(s): All

Focussing on the historical and conceptual approaches to the relationship between data and automated decision-making (ADM) systems, this project situates key issues in historical context and canvasses the range of theoretical approaches brought to bear on describing ADM and assessing the social issues, concerns, and potentials it invokes.

Given the historical focus on data as a locus of concern (with respect to ownership, privacy, accuracy, bias, security, accountability), the data contribution focusses on issue mapping across sectors. The project compliments and draws on the work being done in other research programs and areas to discern common themes with respect to the issues raised by the collection, storage, and use of data for ADM across object domains.

RESEARCHERS

Mark Andrejevic

Prof Mark Andrejevic

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Chief Investigator

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Julian Thomas

Prof Julian Thomas

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Heather Horst

Prof Heather Horst

Chief Investigator

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Deborah Lupton

Prof Deborah Lupton

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Rowan Wilken

Assoc Prof Rowan Wilken

Associate Investigator

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Paul Henman

Prof Paul Henman

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Mark Sanderson

Prof Mark Sanderson

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Jason Potts

Prof Jason Potts

Chief Investigator

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Mapping the Digital Gap

PROJECT SUMMARY

Two people using tablet devices

Mapping the Digital Gap

Focus Area(s): News & Media
Research Program: People

Improving digital inclusion outcomes and access to services in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is critically important for informed decision making and agency. People living in Australia’s 1100 remote Indigenous communities are likely to be among the most digitally excluded Australians. The Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) found that people in remote communities often have extremely limited access to digital infrastructure and services and encounter very high costs for internet access, especially in relation to their income.

This project aims to generate the most detailed account to date of the distribution of digital inclusion and the uses of digital services including news and media across Indigenous communities.

It will track changes in measures of digital inclusion for these communities over time, and inform the development and evaluation of appropriate local strategies for improving digital inclusion capabilities and services enabling informed decision making in remote Indigenous communities.

The project involves working with 8-10 remote First Nations communities to develop local digital inclusion plans and measuring the change in levels of digital inclusion and media use within the community over a four-year period (2021-2024).  Potential research sites will be identified based on criteria to ensure a diverse national sample, and selected communities will be offered the option of being involved in the project.

The research team will work closely with local and regional agencies on all community-based research and the analysis of results to ensure the project adheres to local policies and cultural protocols, community trust and engagement, and to ensure the research addresses local needs and provides benefit to the community.

RESEARCHERS

Julian Thomas

Prof Julian Thomas

Chief Investigator

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Lauren Ganley

Lauren Ganley

Head of First Nations Strategy & Engagement, Telstra

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Daniel Featherstone

Dr Daniel Featherstone

Senior Research Fellow

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Indigo Holcombe-James

Dr Indigo Holcombe-James

Research Fellow

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Jenny Kennedy

Dr Jenny Kennedy

Associate Investigator

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Lyndon Ormond-Parker

Dr Lyndon Ormond-Parker

Principal Research Fellow

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PARTNERS

Telstra

Telstra

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Diverse Experiences of ADM: Design, Curation and Use

PROJECT SUMMARY

Research Materials

Diverse Experiences of ADM: Design, Curation and Use

Focus Area(s): All
Research Program: People

This project examines the ways in which automated decision-making (ADM) is being integrated into the lives of diverse and non-dominant communities across Australia.

Attending to issues of equity and power, this project explores how different communities shape existing, emerging and future practices of ADM in an effort to understand and develop equitable futures.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Chief Investigator Heather Horst

Prof Heather Horst

Lead Investigator

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Deborah Lupton

Prof Deborah Lupton

Lead Investigator

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Sarah Pink

Prof Sarah Pink

Lead Investigator

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Cecily Klim

 

Rakesh Kumar

Rakesh Kumar

PhD Student

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Jackie Leach Scully profile picture

Prof Jackie Leach Scully

Chief Investigator

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Jeni Lee

Jeni Lee

Research Fellow

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Jiyoon Lee

Jiyoon Lee

PhD Student

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Robert Lundberg profile picture

Robert Lundberg

PhD Student

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Iris Maher

Thao Phan

Dr Thao Phan

Research Fellow

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Emma Quilty

Dr Emma Quilty

Research Fellow

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Yolande Strengers

Prof Yolande Strengers

Associate Investigator

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Georgia Van Toorn

Dr Georgia van Toorn

Research Fellow

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Ash Watson

Dr Ash Watson

Research Fellow

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Vaughan Wozniak-O'Connor

Dr Vaughan Wozniak-O’Connor

Research Fellow

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Dr Daniel Featherstone

Dr Daniel Featherstone

Research Fellow

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Indigo Holcombe-James Headshot

Dr Indigo Holcombe-James

Research Fellow

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ADM+S Associate Investigator Jenny Kennedy

Dr Jenny Kennedy

Associate Investigator

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PARTNERS

Consumer Health Forum of Australia Logo

Consumers Health Forum of Australia

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Data and Society logo

Data & Society Research Institute (US)

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Health Consumers NSW

Health Consumers NSW

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Data Ethics, Rights, and Markets

PROJECT SUMMARY

Blurred people moving

Data Ethics, Rights, and Markets

Focus Area(s): All
Research Program: Data

The goal of this project is to contribute to the theoretical “backbone” of the ADM+S Centre and help synthesise the findings from projects in different focus areas and research programs through the creation of an historically informed theoretical overview to the social issues associated with the rise of automated decision-making (ADM).

The project supplements the descriptive mapping project (typologies and taxonomies of ADM) with an issue mapping project that connects directly with the core social concerns of the Centre: fairness, ethics, inclusion, and effectiveness.

RESEARCHERS

Julian Thomas

Prof Julian Thomas

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Associate Director Jean Burgess

Prof Jean Burgess

Chief Investigator

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Axel Bruns, Chief Investigator with the ADM+S Centre

Prof Axel Bruns

Chief Investigator

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Paul Henman

Prof Paul Henman

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Dan Hunter

Prof Dan Hunter

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Andrew Kenyon

Prof Andrew Kenyon

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Anthony McCosker

Assoc Prof Anthony McCosker

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Christine Parker

Prof Christine Parker

Chief Investigator

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Sarah Pink

Prof Sarah Pink

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Mark Sanderson

Prof Mark Sanderson

Chief Investigator

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Kimberlee Weatherall

Prof Kimberlee Weatherall

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Associate Investigator Jake Goldenfein

Dr Jake Goldenfein

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Ivana Jurko

Ivana Jurko

Partner Investigator

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PARTNERS

Australian Red Cross Logo

Australian Red Cross

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Data and Society logo

Data & Society Research Institute (US)

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OVIC Logo

Victorian Information Commissioner

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Mapping ADM Machines in Australia and Asia-Pacific

PROJECT SUMMARY

People walking in city centre

Mapping ADM Machines in Australia and Asia-Pacific

Focus Area(s): Social Services
Research Program: Machines

This project involves adopting the (draft) taxonomy for automated decision-making (ADM) in undertaking a mapping exercise of ADM machines in Social Services in Australia. A key purpose is to test and refine the taxonomy and to provide foundational empirical and conceptual knowledge of ADM in social services beyond Europe and North America, and into the Asia-Pacific region. This mapping exercise will provide necessary baseline empirical understanding of where ADM is and how it is being used.

The approach will use a critical data studies theoretical framework to develop a countermapping of ADM systems in social services. This approach views ADM as an assemblage of data systems and decision making in social-political context, and aims to build knowledge about what ADMs are being used in government, and how they are used, and who is effected by this.

RESEARCHERS

Paul Henman

Prof Paul Henman

Lead Investigator

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Lyndal Sleep profile picture

Dr Lyndal Sleep

Research Fellow

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PARTNERS

AlgorithmWatch Logo

Algorithm Watch (Germany)

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Automated Content Regulation (Sexuality Education and Health Information)

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Automated Content Regulation (Sexuality Education and Health Information)

Focus Area(s): Health
Research Program: Data

Sexual health organisations in Australia and internationally have expressed frustration regarding the impact of automated platform regulation on their ability to conduct social marketing and sexual health promotion campaigns (and research recruitment) on social media platforms. To address this issue, this project brings together a number of impacted organisations and institutions globally to reveal impacts and develop solutions.

This project will examine how government agencies understand content regulation, how NGOs and health promotion and advocacy organisations experience the implementation of content regulation across the platforms on which they operate, and how platform regulators and moderators might better distinguish between education and information content, and other forms of sexual texts and imagery.

By addressing these issues, this case study will contribute to informing government, institutional and platform policies, and enable affected groups to better voice their stories and achieve redress.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Investigator Kath Albury

Prof Kath Albury

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Anthony McCosker

Assoc Prof Anthony McCosker

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Nic Suzor

Prof Nicolas Suzor

Chief Investigator

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Zahra Stardust profile picture

Dr Zahra Stardust

Research Fellow

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Sujith Kumar

Sujith Kumar

Research Assistant

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Joanna Williams

Joanna Williams

PhD Student

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COLLABORATORS AND PROJECT ADVISORS

  • Sally Beadle
    Programme Specialist, UNESCO
  • Pauline Oosterhof
    Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies (UK)
  • Susie Jolly
    Independent Scholar and Associate, Institute of Development Studies (UK)

Prof Karen Yeung Guest-Edits Special Issue on Algorithmic Regulation with Dr Lena Ulbricht

Algorithmic Regulation VI image

Prof Karen Yeung Guest-Edits Special Issue on Algorithmic Regulation with Dr Lena Ulbricht

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 9 September 2021

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society’s (ADM+S) Partner Investigator Prof Karen Yeung and colleague Dr Lena Ulbricht have guest-edited a Special Issue on Algorithmic Regulation in the journal Regulation & Governance.

The primary aim of this Special Issue is to critically investigate, refine, and build upon the concept of algorithmic regulation, an analytical construct for investigating the role of algorithms as a mode of social coordination and control in concrete contexts of application. The contributions to this volume offer empirical and conceptual insight which, taken together, provide a fruitful vantage point from which to consider the concept as a vehicle for critical scholarly inquiry. While the academic interest in data and algorithms and digital transformations in society has proliferated since 2017, this Issue offers several observations about what is distinctive about the concept and how it can support critical cross-disciplinary investigation and analysis.

Regulation & Governance is a peer-reviewed journal that serves as the leading platform for the study of regulation and governance by political scientists, lawyers, sociologists, historians, criminologists, psychologists, anthropologists, economists and others. Research on regulation and governance, once fragmented across various disciplines and subject areas, has emerged at the cutting edge of paradigmatic change in the social sciences. The journal advances discussions between various disciplines about regulation and governance, promotes the development of new theoretical and empirical understanding, and serves the growing needs of practitioners for a useful academic reference.

Read the Special Issue online.

SEE ALSO

Researchers Explore Innovative Methods for Researching ADM in Health and Medicine

Health workshop 1 zoom meeting screenshot

Researchers Explore Innovative Methods for Researching ADM in Health and Medicine

Author Deborah Lupton & Loren Dela Cruz
Date 9 September 2021

It is often difficult for social researchers to elicit the public’s understanding and practice of emerging digital technologies—even experts disagree on how exactly to define such terms as ‘artificial intelligence’ or ‘automated decision-making (ADM)’.

In an effort to address this, ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) Chief Investigator and leader of the Health Focus Area Professor Deborah Lupton convened two half-day online workshops in August to explore innovative methods for researching ADM and AI in the domains of health and medicine to help research participants respond to questions and think creatively about these technologies.

The workshops featured presentations from ADM+S Centre researchers as well as guest speakers from the University of Wollongong’s Australian Centre for Health Engagement, Evidence and Values, and RMIT University’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre, Care-full Design Lab and Social and Global Studies Centre.

Workshop 1, held 10 August, began with presentations from researchers in the ADM+S Centre’s Health Focus Area at UNSW Sydney. Prof Jackie Leach Scully spoke on using dialogue groups to explore moral understandings, Prof Deborah Lupton and Dr Ash Watson discussed creative writing prompts and online workshops, and then Dr Watson and Dr Vaughan Wozniak-O’Connor talked about their cultural probes method. The second session of this workshop featured speakers from the University of Wollongong. Dr Yves Saint James Aquino presented on translating normative theory into empirical research practices, followed by Prof Annette Braunack-Mayer on engaging publics using citizens juries, and then Prof Stacy Carter discussed a range of speculative methods for eliciting understandings of AI in health.

Workshop 2, held on 17 August, started with a presentation from Assoc Prof Anthony McCosker, Dr Yong-Bin Kang, Dr Peter Kamstra, Prof Jane Farmer and Prof Kath Albury on using Natural Language Processing to analyse and improve digital mental health services. This talk was followed by Prof Albury presenting her team’s research on building partnerships for online sexual health and education content moderation. In the second session of this workshop, Prof Anna Hickey-Moody discussed her research on young people, faith, mental health and digital cultures. RMIT researchers Dr Jaz Hee-jeong Choi, Kate Geck and Dr Alan Nguyen then discussed their work on digitally translating the body movements of people with disabilities into artworks. Dr Jacinthe Flore from RMIT’s Social and Global Studies Centre closed the workshop with a discussion on her pilot digital technography work exploring how young adults use AI-powered apps.

The recordings of both workshops are available on the ADM+S Centre’s YouTube channel:

SEE ALSO

Data capacity and collaboration for ADM in the community sector

PROJECT SUMMARY

Group of people in huddle

Data capacity and collaboration for ADM in the community sector

Focus Area(s): Social Services
Research Program: Data

This project takes an innovative approach to addressing challenges in data collaboration and developing data capability across the not-for-profit (NFP) sector. Through participatory methods, it integrates technical approaches to responsible data management in computer science, legal approaches to data sharing, and social science approaches to data capability building and ‘data and AI for social good’.

The project works toward a replicable framework for building capacity (expertise, literacy, data partnerships and data governance) to unlock the social value and impact of advanced data analytics, AI and ADM across the not-for-profit sector. The aim is to develop models for responsible data practices suitable for addressing the goals and challenges faced by the NFP sector, and assess and advance data literacy and expertise to improve ADM outcomes.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Chief Investigator Anthony McCosker

Assoc Prof Anthony McCosker

Lead Investigator

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Kimberlee Weatherall

Prof Kimberlee Weatherall

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Kath Albury

Prof Kath Albury

Associate Investigator

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Jane Farmer

Prof Jane Farmer

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Associate Investigator Jake Goldenfein

Dr Jake Goldenfein

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Julia Stoyanovich

Assistant Prof Julia Stoyanovich

Partner Investigator

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Xiaofang Yao

Dr Xiaofang Yao

Research Fellow

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PARTNERS

Infoxchange

Infoxchange

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Dark Ads Transparency Project

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Dark Ads Transparency Project

Focus Area(s): News & Media
Research Program: Data

The use of custom targeted advertising, known as ‘dark ads’ poses a host of potential social harms, from the re-introduction of historical forms of discriminating (targeting job or housing ads by race, for example, or job ads by race or gender, and so on); to the propagation of racist or gender stereotyping, to the spread of false and harmful information. The advertising environment is fundamentally transformed by the rise of dark ads, which continue the trend away from mass advertising, which was available to large audiences and thus subject to public scrutiny.

Our researchers have partnered with AlgorithmWatch to develop novel approaches for addressing the challenges posed by ‘dark ads’. This project aims to develop strategies for addressing the potential harms posed by ‘dark ads’ and provide accountability and transparency mechanisms for targeted advertising. This project will deliver modelling of real-world strategies for providing visibility into how targeting takes place and what its results are and develop recommendations for regulatory response to online ad targeting.

RESEARCHERS

Mark Andrejevic

Prof Mark Andrejevic

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Associate Director Jean Burgess

Prof Jean Burgess

Chief Investigator

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Daniel Angus

Prof Daniel Angus

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Timothy Graham

Dr Timothy Graham

Associate Investigator

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PARTNERS

ABC logo

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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Civic Automated Decision-Making

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Civic Automated Decision-Making

Focus Area(s): All
Research Program: Data

This project supplements work on ethical automated decision-making (ADM) with a focus on civic commitments and concerns. It adds a consideration of politics and power to ethical approaches in the area of ADM and civic life.

Such an approach adds an additional layer to the question of whether ADM processes are ethical by considering how they promote civic life and democracy.

RESEARCHERS

Mark Andrejevic

Prof Mark Andrejevic

Lead Investigator

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Axel Bruns, Chief Investigator with the ADM+S Centre

Prof Axel Bruns

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Associate Director Jean Burgess

Prof Jean Burgess

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Nic Suzor

Prof Nicolas Suzor

Chief Investigator

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Julian Thomas

Prof Julian Thomas

Chief Investigator

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Kimberlee Weatherall

Prof Kimberlee Weatherall

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Associate Investigator Jake Goldenfein

Dr Jake Goldenfein

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Andrew Kenyon

Prof Andrew Kenyon

Associate Investigator

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Andrew Roberts

Prof Andrew Roberts

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Robert Sparrow

Prof Robert Sparrow

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Frank Pasquale

Prof Frank Pasquale

Partner Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Karen Yeung

Prof Karen Yeung

Partner Investigator

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PARTNERS

Brooklyn Law School logo

Brooklyn Law School

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Data and Society logo

Data & Society Research Institute (US)

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OVIC Logo

Victorian Information Commissioner

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Automated Decision-Making Empirical Mapping Project

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Automated Decision-Making Empirical Mapping Project

Focus Area(s): All
Research Program: Institutions

This project will develop a theoretical classification to operationalise an empirical mapping program for automated decision-making (ADM). Developing a method that maps ADM in our economy will enable us to track growth and development, and use this as an input into further social science analysis which will be of value for research, strategy and policy.

It will provide much-needed answers to questions including: How much ADM is there in the economy and society? What levels? What distribution? How is it changing through time? How is it distributed by sector, by industry? By demographic?

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Chief Investigator Jason Potts

Prof Jason Potts

Lead Investigator

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Paul Henman

Prof Paul Henman

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Chief Investigator

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Julian Thomas

Prof Julian Thomas

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Ivana Jurko

Ivana Jurko

Partner Investigator

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PARTNERS

Australian Red Cross Logo

Australian Red Cross

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Adaptive, Multi-Factor Balanced, Regulatory Compliant Routing ADM Systems

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Adaptive, Multi-Factor Balanced, Regulatory Compliant Routing ADM Systems

Focus Area(s): Transport and Mobilities
Research Program: Machines

This project aims to study and develop new approaches that combines fairness, privacy and legal guarantees for ADM systems, such as recommender and machine learning based systems. It takes a multi-disciplinary approach and although focused on the transportation focus area, can potentially be applicable in other areas.

The project is divided into three work packages, roughly one year in length each.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Chief Investigator Christopher Leckie

Prof Christopher Leckie

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Chief Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Mark Sanderson

Prof Mark Sanderson

Chief Investigator

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Kimberlee Weatherall

Prof Kimberlee Weatherall

Chief Investigator

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Jeffrey Chan

Dr Jeffrey Chan

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Sarah Erfani

Dr Sarah Erfani

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Flora Salim

Prof Flora Salim

Associate Investigator

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Considerate and Accurate Multi-party Recommender Systems for Constrained Resources

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Considerate and Accurate Multi-party Recommender Systems for Constrained Resources

Focus Area(s): News and Media, Health, Social Services, Transport and Mobilities
Research Program: Machines

This project will create a next generation recommender system that enables equitable allocation of constrained resources. The project will produce novel hybrid socio-technical methods and resources to create a Considerate and Accurate REcommender System (CARES), evaluated with social science and behavioural economics lenses.

CARES will transform the sharing economy by delivering systems and methods that improve user and non-user experiences, business efficiency, and corporate social responsibility.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Chief Investigator Mark Sanderson

Prof Mark Sanderson

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Christopher Leckie

Prof Christopher Leckie

Chief Investigator

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Julian Thomas

Prof Julian Thomas

Chief Investigator

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Jeffrey Chan

Dr Jeffrey Chan

Associate Investigator

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Danula Hettiachchi

Dr Danula Hettiachchi

Research Fellow

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Indigo Holcombe-James Headshot

Dr Indigo Holcombe-James

Research Fellow

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ADM+S Investigator Flora Salim

Prof Flora Salim

Associate Investigator

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PARTNERS

University of Amsterdam logo

University of Amsterdam

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Building Ethical Machines in Social Services: Examining, Evaluating, Building Fairness and Explainability in ADM

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Building Ethical Machines in Social Services: Examining, Evaluating, Building Fairness and Explainability in ADM

Focus Area(s): Social Services
Research Program: Machines

A significant area of automated decision-making (ADM) in social services relates to the use of predictive measures – such as predictions of risk to children to abuse/neglect in child protection, predictions of recidivism or crime in policing and criminal justice, predictions of welfare/tax fraud in compliance systems, predictions of long term unemployment in employment services. While earlier and current versions of these systems are based on standard statistical analyses, they are increasingly having machine learning developed and deployed.

Despite these changes in the machine/algorithm design, the issues of bias, fairness and explainability are not substantially shifted and have not been dealt with in the past. Working with computer scientists, lawyers, social scientists, and users of social services, this project will engage with substantive empirical examples of ADM in disability services, child protection, criminal justice and social security to develop an understanding of what social service users and professionals regard as fairness and explanation.

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Chief Investigator Paul Henman

Prof Paul Henman

Lead Investigator

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Dan Hunter

Prof Dan Hunter

Chief Investigator

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Terry Carney

Prof Terry Carney AO

Associate Investigator

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ADM+S Investigator Philip Gillingham

Dr Philip Gillingham

Associate Investigator

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Amelia Radke

Dr Amelia Radke

Associate Investigator

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Paul Harpur

Assoc Prof Paul Harpur

Associate Investigator

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PARTNERS

ACOSS logo

Australian Council of Social Service

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Australian Human Rights Commission logo

Australian Human Rights Commission

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Australian Law Reform Commission logo

Australian Law Reform Commission

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Australian Red Cross Logo

Australian Red Cross

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ADM+S Researchers Receive Discovery Early Career Research Award 2022

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ADM+S Researchers Receive Discovery Early Career Research Award 2022

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 17 August 2021

Three researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S Centre) are recipients of the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme for 2022.

Associate Investigator Sarah Erfani, based at the Centre’s University of Melbourne node, received a grant of $403,482 for her project on anomaly detection in cyber security. The project, Making Anomaly Detection Interpretable & Actionable in Hostile Environments, aims to identify and interpret anomalies that can disrupt system performance by introducing the concept of actionable anomalies. It will significantly advance the effectiveness of anomaly detection by developing algorithms that distil local and global structures of data to characterise actionable anomalies and explain their outlying aspects. Project outcomes will enhance the security, trustworthiness and fault-tolerance of critical systems, contributing to international efforts in cyber security.

Associate Investigator Timothy Graham from Queensland University of Technology was awarded $452,000 for his project Combating Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour on Social Media. The project will develop cutting-edge methods and workflows to accurately distinguish genuine activity from coordinated inauthentic behaviour, and to trace and evaluate the adoption of material spread by malicious actors across multiple platforms.

Research Fellow Jathan Sadowski of Monash University received $421,200 in funding for his project Everyday Insurtech: Impacts of Emerging Technology for Insurance. The project will investigate the emerging insurance technology (insurtech) sector and conduct the first major empirical study of insurtech’s implementation and impacts in Australia, with a focus on automotive, health, and property coverage. The project will result in effective and efficient insurance services for Australians by ensuring risks of insurtech are avoided.

ADM+S Centre Director Julian Thomas congratulated the three recipients.

“The Centre is delighted by the success of our early-career colleagues in the exceptionally competitive ARC DECRA scheme. The new DECRA Fellows are working on issues that are central to the future of automated services, from the management of risk to the identification of authentic communication and the security and trustworthiness of critical systems. We are proud of their achievements and privileged to be working alongside them on these path-breaking projects,” said Prof Thomas.

The DECRA scheme provides focused research support for early career researchers and aims to:

  • support excellent basic and applied research by early career researchers
  • support national and international research collaboration
  • enhance the scale and focus of research in Australian Government priority areas
  • advance promising early career researchers and promote enhanced opportunities for diverse career pathways
  • enable research and research training in high quality and supportive environments

ARC Chief Executive Officer, Professor Sue Thomas,  said “The DECRA scheme provides our promising early career researchers the opportunities and resources to advance their research and build diverse career pathways.”

For a full list of funded DECRA projects please visit the ARC website.

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2021 ECR Seed Funding Grants Announced

Two women working together

2021 ECR Seed Funding Grants Announced

Author Sally Storey & Loren Dela Cruz
Date 4 August 2021

The ADM+S Centre’s Research Training Program has announced the recipients for round 1 of the 2021 ECR Seed Funding Grants. The ECR Seed Funding Grants aim to provide support to the Centre’s early career researchers by funding research projects across the Centre’s nodes, programs and focus areas.

“We are excited to support the first seed funding grants for early career researchers who are developing new ideas, projects and collaborations to further our understanding of the social, legal and technical implications automated decision-making at this critical stage of the centre and the field,” says Chief Investigator Heather Horst, co-leader of the research training program.

Out of the 11 project proposals submitted, 6 were awarded based on high impact outcomes, cross collaboration across ADM+S research groups, focus areas and nodes, and project teams).

The awardees of this funding round include:

  • Prioritising women’s safety: Intersections of automation, systems abuse and domestic violence.
    Project Lead: Dr Lyndal Sleep
    As automation increases across all sectors, the potential for automation to be harnessed in systems abuse by domestic violence perpetrators also increases. The proposed project aims to build capacity in the Centre to research the intersections of automation, systems abuse and domestic violence across multiple nodes, programs and research areas. This will be done by establishing a research group of ECRs to work on a series of workshops to produce a literature review of this new area, and draft a co-authored paper with all members of the research group as authors. The paper will be submitted to a high ranked academic journal. The research group involves ECRs from multiple nodes, streams and research focus areas. The funding is for a research assistant to support the literature review.
  • Precarious warehouse work and the automation of logistical mobilities: Understanding Amazon in the Australian context
    Project Lead: Dr Chris O’Neill
    This will be the first academic research project to analyse Amazon’s Australian ‘fulfilment centres’. We will study how automated mobility technologies are being deployed in Amazon’s new warehouses alongside other automated management and worker monitoring tools. Our research will combine interviews with warehouse workers and members of the communities proximate to Amazon’s Australian warehouses, alongside analysis of Amazon’s Australian corporate strategy and technology implementation, and a review of relevant workplace surveillance laws. The project will produce an integrated analysis of the use of automated mobility technologies alongside other automated management techniques, with a view towards developing recommendations for the responsible and ethical development of automated systems and sustainable labour practices, as well as canvassing the possibility of reform in Victoria’s workplace privacy regime.
  • Ethical Data Governance of Sex Tech
    Project Lead: Dr Zahra Stardust
    This project brings together industry, civil society and academia to workshop how innovative sexual technologies can be governed at scale in ways that prioritise public interest benefit and feminist data ethics, in order to reduce the harmful impacts of algorithmic sexual profiling. Comprised of two components – an industry workshop and a community hackathon – the project will operate in partnership between three ADM+S nodes (QUT, Swinburne and RMIT), global software consultancy firm Thoughtworks and the international Sex Tech School, an established private training academy for sextech start-ups and professionals. The workshop will involve facilitated conversations about ethical data governance as part of the Sex Tech School, while the hackathon will build on these insights to investigate how community stakeholders understand inclusive sex technologies for public benefit. With a built-in research component to collect data, we will produce two high impact Q1 journal articles, a community report and two podcast episodes, which will apply theoretical frameworks on data feminism, accountable governance, public interest technology and counter-surveillance to the contemporary sex tech field.
  • Hello Barbie! Voice recognition, cultural values, and privacy-by-design in entertainment voicetech for children
    Project Lead: Dr Jenny Kennedy
    This project examines entertainment products designed for children using voice-recognition software to identify products available on the global marketplace, and examine and compare their privacy controls, terms of service, and embedded cultural values within their design. A series of workshops with potential industry partners and scholars will be held to scope future research questions, directions and collaborations. The aim of the outputs identified in this application are to demonstrate a track record between the project team to support a future grant application.
  • Investigating and Mitigating Biases in Crowdsourced Data for Automated Decision-Making Systems
    Project Lead: Dr Danula Hettiachchi
    It is common practice for automated decision-making systems to use crowdsourced data. However, crowdsourcing data collection tasks require subjective judgement which is susceptible to biases held by crowd workers. Simultaneously, the environments and conditions under which crowd workers labour create additional influences and produce further biases. Whether held by the worker, or enforced by their employer, these biases can significantly impact the data quality with implications for models trained using labelled data. This project aims to conduct two crowdsourcing studies that use quantitative and qualitative methods to understand how crowd worker biases influence hate speech tagging task for automated content moderation. In addition, based on our study outcomes, we plan to develop a bias identification model for crowdsourcing that enable data fairness.
  • Gendered Harms Online: Conceptualising, Identifying, and Addressing Harms to Women on Digital Platforms
    Project Co-Leads: Dr Anjalee de Silva & Dr Rosalie Gillett
    Funding support for a virtual workshop to be held in February 2022 to bring together academic, civil society, and industry participants to discuss how gendered online harms are conceived of, regulated, and responded to by platforms, and to investigate ways that automated interventions might better address or mitigate such harms. Analysis of the data collected through the workshop will lead to the publication of an article in a high impact Q1 socio-legal journal, as well as the development of an online research tool that will summarise and visually represent conceptualisations of gendered online harms and platforms’ responses to them. Both the article and the online tool will inform the broader research projects that each of the leaders and collaborators listed in this application are currently working on. A primary focus of the workshop and its outputs will be to ‘map’ the gaps between scholarly and civil society perceptions of the harms to women of relevant online communicative conduct and platforms’ conceptions and regulation of and responses to such conduct.

The Research Training Program is borne from the Centre’s strategic objective to educate and train researchers skilled in responding to the cross-disciplinary challenges of next-generation automation. The program is designed with continuous, active industry engagement and international knowledge-exchange in mind, helping to deliver on the Centre’s outcomes, impacts and linkages, as well as to prepare the next generation of researchers to make world-leading contributions in an increasingly engaged and trans-disciplinary research environment.

For more information please contact Sally Storey, Research Training Coordinator.

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Research Fellows Rosalie Gillett and Jathan Sadowski Receive ABC Top 5 Fellowships

Rosalie Gillett and Jathan Sadowski
Dr Jathan Sadowski (left) and Dr Rosalie Gillett (right)

Research Fellows Rosalie Gillett and Jathan Sadowski Receive ABC Top 5 Fellowships

Author Loren Dela Cruz & Kathy Nickels
Date 20 July 2021

ADM+S Research Fellows Dr Rosalie Gillett (Queensland University of Technology) and Dr Jathan Sadowski (Monash University) are recipients of the 2021 ABC TOP 5 Media Residency Program (Humanities), a program which enables some of Australia’s brightest minds to share their skills with the nation.

Rosalie and Jathan were two of five Australian researchers selected for the humanities media residency program for 2021 and will undertake a two-week online residency with ABC Radio National to learn the craft of communicating with a wide audience from some of Australia’s best broadcasters, and how to develop content across radio and digital platforms.

Jathan says “The Top 5 residency is such a great opportunity to learn new skills for communicating research and producing stories about technology and society.”

Now in its fourth year, the program is designed to nurture the communication skills and media awareness of our nation’s emerging thinkers — to help them share their knowledge and expertise with audiences seeking credible material and informed debate.

“I’m very eager to learn how to best translate and disseminate complex academic scholarship in ways that are meaningful for public audiences. In doing so, I hope to empower the public with evidence-based research,” says Rosalie.

 

References:

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Centre Receives $2.16million Investment from Victorian Government

Former RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Martin Bean CBE

Centre Receives $2.16million Investment from Victorian Government

Author Nicholas Walsh
Date 14 July 2021

The ARC Centre for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) has received a $2.16 million grant from the Victorian Government Higher Education Investment Fund (VGHEIF) to enhance and upgrade the Centre’s technology and research infrastructure at it’s administering organisation, RMIT University.

The VGHEIF scheme was developed in response to the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on universities and is intended to cover a raft of individual research projects and capital works, all with a unique focus on community-based renewal.

Former RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Martin Bean CBE said the facilities and activities funded by the government would help RMIT contribute to Victoria’s social and economic response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and create jobs, enterprises and opportunities for the future.

“RMIT has been proudly working together with the Victorian Government to develop new ways of creating skills, offering educational pathways, partnering with industry, and solving shared community problems. Activating this unique precinct and strengthening its connections with other parts of this great city will create long-lasting benefit for the Victorian economy and community. It is a wonderful milestone for the future of a 20-year vision,” said Professor Bean. 

The development of a social innovation precinct, bordered by Lygon, Victoria, Swanston and Queensberry Streets, will be home to research, ideas, skills and new technology.

It is a fitting environment for the ADM+S Centre, a new, cross-disciplinary, national research centre, funded by the Australian Research Council from 2020 to 2026. The Centre is located at RMIT University, with nodes located at eight other Australian universities, and partners around the world.

ADM+S Centre Director Julian Thomas said the Victorian Government’s two-year investment in the research centre is also a win for the wider community as it will lead to enhanced research outcomes related to “responsible, ethical and inclusive automated decision-making systems, for the benefit of all Australians.”

 

References:

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$549,000 Grant Awarded for ‘Cardiac AI: deep learning to predict and prevent secondary cardiovascular events’ Project at UNSW

UNSW Sydney campus

$549,000 Grant Awarded for ‘Cardiac AI: deep learning to predict and prevent secondary cardiovascular events’ Project at UNSW

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 6 July 2021

ADM+S Chief Investigator Deborah Lupton and her colleagues Blanca Gallego Luxan, Louisa Jorm, Sze-Yuan Ooi, Jennifer Yu, Nigel Lovell, and Juan Quiro were recently awarded with a $549,000 grant for the project ‘Cardiac AI: deep learning to predict and prevent secondary cardiovascular events’.

Administered by the Centre for Big Data Research in Health at UNSW Sydney with partner organisations eHealth NSW and South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, the project will use electronic medical record data and artificial intelligence technologies to develop and implement an algorithm to identify cardiac patients who are at high risk of a further cardiovascular event before they are discharged from hospital. This will enable the targeting of more intensive interventions such as higher potency medications or home monitoring programs to those more likely to benefit. The algorithm and a prototype visualisation dashboard will be developed ready for implementation at South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD).

The funding comes from the Australian Government’s 2022-2023 Medical Research Future Fund – Cardiovascular Health Mission, a $220 million research fund aimed at improving heart health and reducing stroke in Australia.

Deborah Lupton says “This exciting new grant will provide wonderful opportunities for the Health Focus Area I lead in the Centre of Excellence to extend its focus into the use of AI in cardiovascular health.”

For more information on the project, contact Deborah Lupton at d.lupton@unsw.edu.au.

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International Experts Speak at Alternative Data Governance and Alternative Data Economies Seminar Series

Alternative Data Governance and Alternative Data Economies Seminar 3 Discussion

International Experts Speak at Alternative Data Governance and Alternative Data Economies Seminar Series

Author Jake Goldenfein
Date 15 June 2021

The ADM+S Centre’s Institutions Research Program based at Melbourne Law School, recently hosted a four-part seminar series on Alternative Data Governance and Alternative Data Economies in collaboration with MLS’s Centre for AI and Digital Ethics and the ANU’s Humanising Machine Intelligence groups. The series brought eight speakers from across the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK into dialogue with discussants from ADM+S, CAIDE, HMI and the broader community.

The series began with the diagnosis that, in the digital context, laws governing privacy, data protection, and consumer protection have participated in building system of social relations in which platforms have become massive, market-like control infrastructures that have transformed individuals into ‘users’- a resource to be mined for data and attention. From there, the series explored alternative arrangements for the governance of our digitally mediated lives and economies, including collective approaches to governing data, attention, and platforms, the role of legal professionals in the ‘new economy’, and indigenous data governance for community produced data resources.

The four seminars are available online on the ADM+S Centre’s YouTube Channel:

Seminar 1 with Katharina Pistor and Salomé Viljoen (discussant Jake Goldenfein) reconceptualizing how data works in the digital economy, the ways in which platforms operate as control infrastructures, the types of social relations they instantiate, and the possibility of democratic data governance: Watch Seminar 1 Recording

Seminar 2 with Julie Cohen and Kean Birch (discussant Kimberlee Weatherall) exploring the degree to which platforms are market players, markets themselves, or something else all-together: Watch Seminar 2 Recording

Seminar 3 with Bronwen Morgan and Nathan Schneider (discussant Jeannie Patterson) discussing the role of collectives in new governance arrangements for data and platforms themselves, as well as the professional skills needed to set those new organisational arrangements in action: Watch Seminar 3 Recording

Seminar 4 with Peter-Lucas Jones and Karen Yeung (discussant Jake Goldenfein) outlining how government use of algorithms have taken the political program of ‘new public accountability’ into the new automated domain of ‘new public analytics’, and how indigenous language resources and data are being built and managed by indigenous groups, for instance using the unique data governance prescriptions of the ‘Kaitiakitanga licence’: Watch Seminar 4 Recording

The topics surfaced in these sessions have exposed a broad research agenda for reforming existing data governance arrangements and building new economic structures and institutions.

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Facebook and Google used to be the future of news. But now media companies need more strings to their bow.

Person on smartphone

Facebook and Google used to be the future of news. But now media companies need more strings to their bow.

Author Kathy Nickels
Date 20 May 2021

Over time news companies have developed a growing dependency on major platforms such as Facebook and Google to distribute their news. In an article published in The Conversation, James Meese and Edward Hurcombe provide historical context to this dependency, describe the compounding effects of the pandemic, and through their research, reveal new ways that media companies are generating revenue and delivering their news.

The article describes a possible shift of media companies from a dependency on generating clicks on social media to securing a more stable revenue stream.

Read the full article.

Listen to the ADM+S Podcast Facebook ‘Unfriends’ Australian News

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2020 Annual Report Published

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2020 Annual Report Published

Author Loren Dela Cruz
Date 8 May 2021

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society 2020 Annual Report is now available online.

The report highlights the significant progress made during the establishment and commencement phase of the Centre. Notably this included bringing together nine Australian universities, eight international university partners, and 14 industry partners into an international research, industry and civil society network, and establishing itself as a leading organisation at the forefront of global research.

Deena Shiff, Chair of the ADM+S International Advisory Board, states “It is a credit to the Centre and its leaders that such a strong collaborative spirit has been woven into the core conceptual framework of the research program. This has been necessary, for as automation evolves, it increasingly requires an understanding of the complex interactions between data, machines, institutions, and people.”

Read the full report.

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