Monash researchers to explore automated decision-making technologies in new ARC centre

Monash researchers will play a key role in a new Australian Research Council (ARC) centre examining the use of automated decision-making technologies across the healthcare, social services, transport and media industries.

Professor Sarah Pink
Professor Sarah Pink

Monash researchers will play a key role in a new Australian Research Council (ARC) centre examining the use of automated decision-making technologies across the healthcare, social services, transport and media industries.

Director of the Emerging Technologies Research Lab, Professor Sarah Pink, and Professor Mark Andrejevic, from the School of Media, Film and Journalism, will lead and co-lead one of the centre’s research programs and areas as chief investigators, focusing on the safe, ethical and responsible use of automated decision-making technologies.

The federal Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, recently announced $31.8 million in government funding to establish the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, which will be based at RMIT University.

“I’m delighted to lead the Transport and Mobility focus area, and co-lead the People Research Program. My research will focus on human, experiential and imagined future dimensions of automated decision-making across different contexts,” Professor Pink said.

“My personal ambition is to create ways to anticipate and intervene in human-technology relations as they develop, in order to ensure they become part of our future worlds and lives in ways that are ethical and responsible.”

Professor Mark Andrejevic
Professor Mark Andrejevic

Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Professor Shane Murray, said: "Through Professor Pink's work, opportunities will be created for inclusive interventions of automated decision-making that wouldn't have otherwise been possible. I'm eager to see her research progress over the coming years."

“Being afforded the opportunity to co-lead the Data Program, as well as oversee the new centre’s activity being undertaken at Monash, is both exciting and rewarding,” Professor Andrejevic said.

“I’m looking forward to tackling the big questions that shape our social world with a research program that encompasses a profoundly interdisciplinary team from many institutions over the course of seven years.”

Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Professor Sharon Pickering, said: "I'm greatly looking forward to Professor Andrejevic's leadership in developing research on the social impact of automated systems in partnership with leading information technology researchers."

The new ARC centre brings together experts from eight Australian universities and 22 academic and industry partner organisations from Australia, Europe, Asia and America to formulate world-leading policy and practice, inform public debate, and train a new generation of researchers and practitioners. Together, they'll provide an additional $39.3 million in cash and in-kind support to the centre.

Dean of the Faculty of Information Technology, and co-director of the Monash Data Futures Institute (MDFI), Professor Jon Whittle, said the new ARC centre’s focus on ethical automated decision-making is closely aligned with the MDFI’s philosophy and research.

“At its core, the Monash Data Futures Institute’s purpose is to use artificial intelligence and data science to create transformative and lasting change in governance and policy, health sciences and sustainable development.

“Just as we use artificial intelligence and data science as a force for social good, the new ARC centre will help to make the world a safer place to use automated decision-making, creating the best possible outcomes for industry and society more broadly,” Professor Whittle said.

“The centre gives us, and all of our co-investigators, the opportunity to explore automated decision-making and our futures with it as an interdisciplinary research team. The seven-year funding will enable us to develop the long-term interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that are needed to produce research that has real impact to both scholarship and society,” Professor Pink said.

Professor Pink has also been elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

This article was first published on Monash University. Read the original article