Monash Prato Dialogue AI Summit 2022

In September 2022, the Monash Data Futures Institute hosted the Inaugural Monash Prato Dialogue - AI Summit to explore new research collaborations and create an international network of experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Social Good, spanning research disciplines across the humanities and social sciences, technology, science and engineering fields.

Monash University’s Prato Centre in Prato, Italy, provided the perfect location and atmosphere to bring together some of the brightest minds in AI for Social Good from top Institutions around the world. Attendees at the Summit included experts from sociology to computer science, psychology, meteorology, law and more.

Over the course of three days, the discussions focused on the interdisciplinary challenges of emergent intelligent technologies and the opportunities to work together to ensure AI becomes a positive force for humanity.

Day 1  |   Day 2  |   Day 3  |   Concluding remarks  |   EOI for 2023 Summit


The Summit commenced with a series of Keynote Talks showcasing the latest research in AI for Good Applications. AI systems have been developed to support a range of decisions and policies across sectors with serious implications to community members. One of the key lessons learned from these studies is that AI and other intelligent systems should be developed as support tools, but should not replace humans in key decision-making tasks.

From a societal perspective, AI can assist us in analysing massive amounts of data and to predict cost-effective interventions for a particular socio-economic problem. However, in many cases, the most cost-effective solution can be biased which could result in marginalising certain community groups even further.

The colonialist mindset is a model that is being replaced with co-design and co-creating. Communities, Traditional Owners, consumers, and diverse groups should be involved in technology development. Empowering and building capacity needs to be part of research projects, ensuring communities can continue projects independently.

Joanna Batstone welcome photo

Rebekah Brown photo

Geoff Webb photo

Toby Walsh photo

Day 1 lunch photo

Rayid Ghani photo

Tanya Berger-Wolf photo

Peter Flach photo

Day 1 group photo

Back to top


On day two of the AI Summit, a panel of experts delved deep into a discussion on AI regulation and ethics, incorporating perspectives from engineering, politics, sociology, governance and law. As much as AI implementation requires clear regulatory frameworks, many societies are unclear on what defines AI, and how it could be used.

Australia, many European countries, the UK and USA, have developed AI ethics frameworks and regulations; initial comparisons of these frameworks indicate that any effective enforcement will require co-regulation.

Data privacy and governance is a fundamental aspect of the development of AI for multiple applications, particularly in healthcare. The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the toughest data privacy laws in the world, enabling AI innovation through well-established ethics and governance frameworks. In low and middle-income countries data governance and regulation is poor. Many of these countries are data-poor, health professional capacity is low, and a knowledge-based-AI model is more suitable to improve care quality. There is a need to prioritise AI research to contribute to improved health and societal well-being globally.

The concept of uncertainty tolerance was discussed, primarily in the context of AI in Healthcare, but it became evident that uncertainty is a common issue across the board on AI applications. Humans struggle with noticing the deviations and uncertainties missed by AI, favouring the computational certainty over human uncertainty.

Chris Marsden photo

Coffee break photo

Panel discussion photo

photo of Joanna asking question

Lunch on the terrace

Frances Griffiths photo

Michelle Lazarus photo

Photo of Conference dinner venue

Group at Conference dinner

Back to top


Day three of the Summit included a series of presentations on AI bridging technology, society and environment. Advancing AI not only involves the advancement of intelligent and autonomous systems to develop AI for societal benefit, but Institutions around the world need to work together, establishing long-term partnerships, and sharing resources in an open manner.

AI can be a powerful tool in addressing climate change, from helping monitor and predict impacts on species and ecosystems, to addressing climate change misinformation. It can help enhance data collection and improve predictive models, enabling agencies and government bodies to deploy early interventions for ecosystem recovery. AI can help detect and debunk misinformation about climate change, avoiding misinformation to become a roadblock to mitigative action, as well as provide real-time monitoring for water management systems, enhancing the quality of water resources.

Alan Dorin photo

Jenni Evans photo

Hiroki Sayama photo

Bernd Meyer photo

John Cook photo

Joanna closing remarks photo

At the conclusion of three days of incredibly rich discussions, attendees to the AI Summit agreed that interdisciplinary efforts are highly valuable in advancing AI for Social Good. Each field of expertise has something important to contribute. We all need to “unlearn to learn more”, and be open to new frameworks and models. Equally important, is to ensure these discussions reach policy makers fostering collaborations with governments and international agencies to influence decision-making globally.

Our team at the Monash Data Futures Institute is thrilled with what was achieved at the Inaugural Prato AI Summit and we thank all participants for their engaging discussions. With lots of new connections formed and ideas for new collaborations, the Summit was a great success.

Our Prato AI Summit in 2023 is being held from July 17-19, 2023.

Back to top