ADM+S acknowledged for contribution to Commonwealth Governments’ discussion paper on Safe and Responsible AI

Purple image with text "How do large language models work?"
Pexels/Google DeepMind

ADM+S acknowledged for contribution to Commonwealth Governments’ discussion paper on Safe and Responsible AI

Authors  Kathy Nickels
Date 22 September 2023

The rapid rise of generative AI is revolutionising the generation of content, and around the world people are looking to governments to lead the conversation on its regulation.

How should the Australian federal government take action to promote artificial intelligence and automated decision-making that is safe and responsible?

The Minister for Industry and Science Hon Ed Husic has highlighted that the government is committed to a thoughtful approach to the challenges of generative AI while ensuring they also maximise the benefits.

“While AI has been with us for a while and contains great benefits for both individuals and organisations, it’s important we get the balance right on its introduction,” said Hon Ed Husic.

In June 2023, the Australian Government called for public submissions for their discussion paper Supporting Responsible AI

The discussion paper builds on the recent Rapid Research Report on Generative AI delivered by the government’s National Science and Technology Council.

Hon Ed Husic provided some details about submissions received in a recent article published in the Australian Financial Review.

He said that more than 500 submissions were received, reflecting the interest and concern people have around regulations of AI.

“Nearly every submission agreed that getting the guardrails right was about more than just creating new laws. It also meant investing in capability building and education, creating standards, and in co-ordinating and upskilling existing regulators and policymakers,” said Hon Ed Husic.

However there was a divided response on whether Australia explicitly needed new laws to address the growth and management on artificial intelligence. 

“Most of the submissions from the technology companies said updating existing laws would be more effective than introducing new laws specifically for AI developers and users.

“They pointed out that there were many laws that already influenced AI development. But laws will need to be updated.”

Hon Ed Husic highlighted the submission made by The Centre for Automated Decision Making and Society and the existing legal frameworks identified in this report that need updating to address AI’s challenges.

“These included administrative law, copyright law, privacy, political advertising and campaign laws, and rules for financial advisers, medicine and lawyers.

“Consumer and human rights groups, on the other hand, and members of the public, supported explicit new AI laws. The need for watermarking or labelling of AI-generated material was identified by many as a new and urgent issue.

“And there was a real concern that an explosion of cheap AI content would see people spending more time battling information overload, cancelling any productivity gains.

“These are all real and serious concerns. Ones that, as a government, we will grapple with over the next while.

“Getting the balance right will be important. Important in allowing AI to enhance our economic prospects and national wellbeing and protecting Australians,” said Hon Ed Husic.

Read the full ADM+S Submission to the Safe and Responsible AI in Australia Discussion Paper


Australian Ad Observatory features on Hungry Talks

aia Guildford-Carey talking to Prof Christine Parker
Left to right: Jaia Guildford-Carey and Prof Christine Parker

Australian Ad Observatory features on Hungry Talks

Authors  Kathy Nickels
Date 21 September 2023

Since 2021, the Australian Ad Observatory has collected over 300,000 unique ads. The Observatory represents the largest library of ads collected from the Australian general public. 

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society have been analysing these ads to identify problematic advertising, such as green claims and unhealthy food advertising as well as alcohol and gambling advertising.

Professor Christine Parker from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society and Law Professor at the University of Melbourne spoke about the Australian Ad Observatory with host Jaia Guildford-Carey on a recent episode of Hungry Talks.

Professor Parker said that they are interested in what advertising people are seeing on Facebook because a lot of advertising is personalised and targeted. 

“The various social media platforms, what they’re doing is they’re collecting lots of data about you, and people like you, that they think might be relevant to you. And that is governing what is coming through your feed.

“In traditional legacy media, advertising appeared on billboards, magazines and TV where everybody could see the same ads.

“However when you are looking at social media we don’t really know what different people are getting and whether some people are getting lots of one type of ad and others are getting a lot of another kind of ad,” said Professor Parker.

The Australian Ad Observatory is seeking participants to donate their Facebook Ads to this valuable research. Visit the Australian Ad Observatory website to find out more about the project and how to get involved.

View the Hungry Talks Episode 7: Sustainability and Ethics (Prof Christine Parker talks to Jaia Guildford-Carey from 50:55)


Research supports call for improved safety of dating apps

Dating apps on mobile phone screen

Research supports call for improved safety of dating apps

Authors  Kathy Nickels
Date 19 September 2023

Online dating apps could be forced to make changes through government legislation unless they lift their standards and improve safety for users.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland announced that popular dating companies such as Tinder, Bumble and Hinge have until June 30 to develop a voluntary code of conduct that addresses user safety concerns.

The code could include improving engagement with law enforcement, supporting at-risk users, improving safety policies and practices, and providing greater transparency about harms, she said.
But, Rowland added, if the safety standards are not sufficiently improved, the government will use regulation and legislation to force change.

The government is responding to Australian Institute of Criminology research published last year that found three-in-four users of dating apps or websites had experienced some form of sexual violence through these platforms in the five years through 2021.

“Online dating is actually the most popular way for Australians to meet new people and to form new relationships,” Rowland said.

“The government is concerned about rates of sexual harassment, abusive and threatening language, unsolicited sexual images and violence facilitated by these platforms,” she added.

Earlier this year, the federal government convened a national rountable that brought representatives from the sector face-to-face with experts, advocates and law enforcement agencies to discuss the situation playing out online.

ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making researcher Professor Kath Albury from Swinburne University studies behaviours on online dating and social media platforms, and said users reported a wide variety of problematic experiences.

“The harms range from receiving unwanted contact or images — unwanted texts and images that maybe are using slurs or sexually explicit when a person hasn’t consented to receiving sexually explicit communication,” Professor Albury said.

“And they range from that kind of day-to-day, the equivalent of flashing in the offline environment or on-street harassment — someone yelling out a comment to you, that’s what it feels like with that kind of contact — to, at times, racist or discriminatory language, transphobic language, stalking in some cases, and in other cases quite threatening behaviours — so moving from the dating apps on to other social platforms to stalk, or offline stalking or indeed physical harassment.”

Professor Albury said the handling of complaints was a key area where users wanted to see improvement.
“There could be clearer communication around what happens when you report an unwanted contact or a questionable or threatening contact, and what the app does with that information,” Professor Albury said.

“There could also be a clearer sense of how fast you can expect to get feedback or a very personal response from the app if you report an issue.

“One of the things that dating app users are concerned about is the sense that complaints go into the void, or there’s a response that feels automated, or not personally responsive in a time when they’re feeling quite unsafe or distressed,” Albury said.

Read more

Watch ABC interview with Professor Kath Albury


ADM+S Research Fellow invited to deliver the 2023 Hancock Lecture

2023 Hancock Lecture

ADM+S Research Fellow invited to deliver the 2023 Hancock Lecture

Authors  Kathy Nickels
Date 13 September 2023

ADM+S Research Fellow Dr Thao Phan from Monash University will be the featured speaker for the Australian Academy of Humanities 2023 Hancock Lecture. 

Each year, the Australian Academy of Humanities invites an outstanding scholar at the earlier stages of their careers to talk at the Hancock Lecture about their work in an accessible way for the everyday Australian.

In the talk ‘Artificial figures: gender-in-the-making in algorithmic culture’, Dr Phan will explore how, in the making of AI systems and technologies, gender too is being made.

This lecture centres on questions of power, politics, and identity in today’s algorithmic culture. It asks: how are more-than-human systems reconfiguring the terms of all-too-human categories like gender, race, and class? How does gender influence how new technologies are made intelligible, mediating the expectations of a user, consumer, or audience? 

And finally, how might these encounters with AI reveal the artifice of gender as a system that is tied to the realm of the artificial as much as it is to nature and what we call ‘the natural’?

The Hancock Lecture will be hosted 4pm, Thursday 16 November 2023 at the Kaleide RMIT Union Theatre, Melbourne. Visit the Hancock Lecture webpage to register for this event.

The Hancock Lecture is being hosted as part of the Australian Academy of the Humanities 54th Annual Academy Symposium. Visit the Symposia webpage for further information and registration for this event.


ADM+S researchers recognised at 2023 Australian Good Design Awards

2023 Australian Good Design Award recipients
2023 Australian Good Design Award recipients

ADM+S researchers recognised at 2023 Australian Good Design Awards

Authors Natalie Campbell
Date 12 September 2023

Congratulations to ADM+S researchers who have been recognised for their creative and innovative contributions to Australian design at the 2023 Australian Good Design Awards.

Established in 1958, the Australian Good Design Awards have been setting the international standard for good design for more than six decades and are recognised by the World Design Organization (WDO) as Australia’s peak international design endorsement program.

Held on 8 September 2023, the annual awards night celebrated projects from around the world in design, architecture, engineering, research, fashion, and social impact. Entries covered a vast range of sectors and industries, showcasing everything from product and building design, systems, and processes that support business and communities.

ADM+S researchers from the Monash Emerging Technologies Research Lab Prof Sarah Pink, Dr Debora Lanzeni, Prof Vaike Fors, Prof Yolande Strengers, and their colleagues Dr Melisa Duque and Assoc Prof Shanti Sumartojo, received a Good Design Award for their book ‘Design Ethnography’.

Design Ethnography presents an ethical, inclusive and interventional design research approach, tailored to the challenges of our world in crisis. The book draws on the shared design ethnographic practice of its six female authors over ten years, with a commitment to engender safe and trusted futures for people, planet, other species and technologies.

Dr Lanzeni explains, “it’s such an honour for our book to have this enormous recognition in the world of design. This methodology traverses disciplines and knowledge environments, aiming to move forward an engaged, committed and innovative mode of research in partnership with stakeholders.

What is essential is to grasp and understand the contemporary challenges that society and the planet are going through.”

Prof Sarah Pink took home two additional Gold Winner awards for her short film ‘Smart Homes for Seniors’ and research project ‘City Sensing Data Futures’.

Smart Homes for Seniors is a character-led design anthropological documentary which follows five senior households over 6 months as they experience and experiment with smart home technology. Directed by Prof Pink, the film advocates for co-designing technologies and related services with seniors themselves in their homes to better support wellbeing and ageing in place.

City Sensing Data Futures is a research collaboration between the Emerging Technologies Research Lab and City of Melbourne. The project created and demonstrated an ethics-based inclusive design for the capture and use of real-time city data in public spaces, which respects values of trust, privacy, transparency, open communication and care.

Prof Pink said, “our collaboration with the City of Melbourne and the amazing Tegan KopGemma Baxter and Catherine Hill has been a real highlight for me, and to make it even better our project won a prestigious Gold Design Award.

I’m very proud have led our fantastic ETLab team of design ethnographers Debora LanzeniMelisa DuqueShanti SumartojoRobert Lundberg, industrial designer Ilya Fridman, and enormous thanks to Bianca Vallentine for her stunning project management and design skills.”

All three projects are synonymous with the Awards’ philosophy of shaping a better world through creativity and innovation, and share the objective of Good Design to create a better, safer and more prosperous future through design excellence.


Call for Papers: 21st Chinese Internet Research Conference (CIRC 2024)

CIRC 2024 Call for Papers
CIRC 2024 Call for Papers

Call for Papers: 21st Chinese Internet Research Conference (CIRC 2024)

Authors Haiqing Yu and Natalie Campbell
Date 11 September 2023

In 2024 the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society will be hosting the 21st Chinese Internet Research Conference (CIRC 2024) in Brisbane. The theme of the event is ‘Politics and Geopolitics of Automated Decision-Making on the Global Chinese Internet’ and will be held on 17-18 June.

The Chinese Internet has a unique technological and politico-cultural ecosystem. It is characterized by the Great-Firewall censorship regime, a vibrant platform-centered digital economy, and highly connected and engaged consumers and users. These features are complemented with a fast-paced and dynamic experimentation with intelligent and disruptive technologies across an expanding array of areas, platforms, sectors, and national boundaries. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain—technologies and digital tools that contribute to automated decision-making (ADM)—are used to innovate digital economy, service provision, transport and mobility, media/propaganda, labor relations, and cross-border trade, and so forth. They also shape societal processes, contributing to new forms of social governance, cultural production and social engagement, resetting labor relations, and transforming power dynamics across industries, sectors, and national boundaries. Chinese Internet and technology companies like Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and Bytedance are the forerunners in the AI race and technological innovation. They are encouraged by the Chinese Party-state to develop research and innovation capacities in cutting-edge technologies, while bearing the brunt of state regulations on content and data control on the one hand and of the high-tech fallout with the US on the other hand.

The politics of ADM in China impacts on how Chinese people live and work, even after they travel and immigrate to other places. Made-in-China digital companies, born-in-China entrepreneurs, or entities and organizations with Chinese investment or influence look to created-in-China models and tested-in-China protocols for inspiration. However, they face challenging problems across a wide range of areas in social, institutional, cultural, legal and ethical domains, both inside China and beyond. It is especially so when Chinese Internet companies expand overseas and become strategic players in the global Chinese Internet. Together with Chinese players in telecommunications and information services, Chinese Internet companies, entrepreneurs, users, and their associates have found themself embroiled in the geopolitics of digital communication, technology, and governance.

The global Chinese Internet is centered around and complicated by politics and geopolitics. Underpinning the politics and geopolitics of the global Chinese Internet are the new and disruptive ADM technologies and technological systems, which are used in a wide range of scenarios, from consumer profiling to citizen surveillance on- and offline. China’s role in politics and geopolitics concerning AI applications, blockchain operations, data governance, digital surveillance, and automated media, etc., can have significant implications beyond its borders and the Chinese speaking world.

How to make sense of and govern these changes brought about by ADM technologies and systems with Chinese characteristics and how to support the development of a global framework for responsible, ethical, and inclusive ADM continue to be a policy challenge and scholarly interest. The significance of politics and geopolitics of the global Chinese Internet and its role in ADM+S in and outside China makes Chinese Internet research a multidisciplinary subject that is beyond the traditional Internet research and China studies.

CIRC 2024 calls for papers and exhibitions that examine politics and geopolitics of the global Chinese Internet in relation to ADM. It features two major streams: (1) examining ADM in the Chinese context, and (2) situating Chinese ADM in the global context.

CIRC 2024 will be organized and sponsored by ADM+S, Australia’s cross-disciplinary, national Centre of Excellence, which aims to create the knowledge and strategies necessary for responsible, ethical, and inclusive automated decision-making. The conference will be held at the QUT node of ADM+S. It will not only be the first CIRC conference to be held physically in the Southern Hemisphere but also the first in the CIRC history to bring scholars outside the traditional fields and disciplines in China studies and Internet research to engage in meaningful dialogues on topics ranging from Chinese Internet to ADM politics and geopolitics.


Suggested topics include:

Stream 1: Examining ADM in the Chinese Context

  • Pre-digital histories of ADM in China
  • Conceptual debate on what AI and/or ADM is in China
  • The imaginaries of AI and machine in China
  • Political economy of Generative AI in China
  • Generative AI and the future of education, work, and play in China
  • Chinese policies on ADM governance and their politics
  • Chinese model for ADM governance: the role of the private sector
  • Spatial and local logics of ADM governance and policy making in China.
  • Governance and production of machine learning data sets
  • AI in social movement and civic activism
  • Surveillance regimes and cultures of compliance and deviation
  • Cross-sectoral collaboration in ADM industries
  • Financialization of ADMs in and beyond China
  • Research methods: challenges, innovations, and reflections in studying ADM in China

Stream 2: Situating Chinese ADM in the Global Context

  • International policy perspectives in ADM and China
  • Decentering Chinese ADM (global perspectives)
  • Comparative analysis of China’s governance of ADM and AI vis-a-vis the global context
  • The geopolitics of ADM in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Comparative analysis of data and IP governance for model training
  • The expansion of China’s ADMs to the world and the pushbacks
  • Global competition for ADM material infrastructure – e.g. data centers, chips and minerals
  • Chinese investment in global ADM companies and stock markets
  • Open or closed? Debating China’s global leadership in ADM
  • Research methods: challenges, innovations, and reflections in studying Chinese ADM in the global context.

Individual paper abstracts:
Please submit your abstract of 300-500 words (including the paper’s main argument, method, and contribution), with a short biography for each author.
Panel proposals: 1500 words with 3-4 abstracts and author details.

Please send paper abstracts and panel proposals to:


Since 2005, the Chinese Internet Research Conference (CIRC) has featured a graduate student paper contest. This important tradition highlights the best work(s) by members of the new generation of CIRC scholars.

To participate in this contest, the papers need to be authored / co-authored by students only. They cannot be co-authored by any faculty member or postdoc. The papers should be written in full, in a similar format as journal articles (8,000 words), but not published or accepted for publication in an academic journal, book, or any other formal outlet or platform. They should include authors’ names and affiliations.

Winners—1st price and runner(s) up—will be chosen by the CIRC Steering Committee (in collaboration with the conference organising committee). The result will be announced on the last day of CIRC 2024 on 18 June 2024.

If you wish to participate in the student paper contest, please send your full paper to the following email, with the subject “Student paper contest”, by 30 May 2024:


Deadline for the submission of paper and panel proposals: 28 February 2024
Notifications of acceptance / confirmation of attendance: 30 March 2024

More details to come. Registrations will open in early 2024.

For general enquiries, please contact:


ADM+S researchers appointed to the Communication Research and Practice editorial board

Dr T.J. Thomson and Dr James Meese of RMIT University
Dr T.J. Thomson and Dr James Meese of RMIT University

ADM+S researchers appointed to the Communication Research and Practice editorial board

Authors Natalie Campbell and T.J. Thomson
Date 7 September 2023

ADM+S researchers Dr James Meese and Dr T.J Thomson from RMIT University have been appointed to editorial board of Communication Research and Practice, a Taylor & Francis journal published on behalf of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association.

The journal aims to publish research that contributes to international scholarship and practice in the broadly defined field of communication, as well as papers that develop new ideas in the field. It is particularly interested in supporting original and innovative work by early career researchers in the Australasian region.

The editorial board is comprised of both established and emerging Communication scholars and thinkers from Australia, New Zealand and beyond. Board members are selected to provide diverse perspectives from the many sub-disciplines within ‘Communication’, such as traditional and digital media, organisational, corporate and intercultural communication, communication theory, equity, disability and diversity, and much more.

Board members are tasked with reviewing scholarship for the journal as well as providing advice and guidance to the journal’s editor, Prof Terrence Lee.

Dr Thomson said, “it’s a privilege and a delight to contribute my expertise in visual communication and media to the journal. Digital media are visual media and I look forward to reviewing submissions that advance our growing understanding of how visual messages are made, shared, and engaged with across diverse contexts.”

Read Prof Lee’s welcome to the new board.


Google turns 25: The search engine revolutionised how we access information, but will it survive AI?

Text "Google"
Flickr/sergio m mahugo, Edited by The Conversation CC BY-NC-SA

Google turns 25: The search engine revolutionised how we access information, but will it survive AI?

Authors  Mark Sanderson, Julian Thomas, Kieran Hegarty & Lisa Given
Date 4 September 2023

Today marks an important milestone in the history of the internet: Google’s 25th birthday. With billions of search queries submitted each day, it’s difficult to remember how we ever lived without the search engine.

What was it about Google that led it to revolutionise information access? And will artificial intelligence (AI) make it obsolete, or enhance it?

Let’s look at how our access to information has changed through the decades – and where it might lead as advanced AI and Google Search become increasingly entwined.

Google’s homepage in 1998.
Brent Payne/Flickr, CC BY-SA

1950s: public libraries as community hubs

In the years following the second world war, it became generally accepted that a successful post-war city was one that could provide civic capabilities – and that included open access to information.

So in the 1950s information in Western countries was primarily provided by local libraries. Librarians themselves were a kind of “human search engine”. They answered phone queries from businesses and responded to letters – helping people find information quickly and accurately.

Libraries were more than just a place to borrow books. They were where parents went to look for health information, where tourists requested travel tips, and where businesses sought marketing advice.

The searching was free, but required librarians’ support, as well as a significant amount of labour and catalogue-driven processes. Questions we can now solve in minutes took hours, days or even weeks to answer.

1990s: the rise of paid search services

By the 1990s, libraries had expanded to include personal computers and online access to information services. Commercial search companies thrived as libraries could access information through expensive subscription services.

These systems were so complex that only trained specialists could search, with consumers paying for results. Dialog, developed at Lockheed Martin in the 1960s, remains one of the best examples. Today it claims to provide its customers access “to over 1.7 billion records across more than 140 databases of peer-reviewed literature”.

This photo from 1979 shows librarians at the terminals of online retrieval system Dialog.
U.S. National Archives

Another commercial search system, The Financial Times’ FT PROFILE, enabled access to articles in every UK broadsheet newspaper over a five-year period.

But searching with it wasn’t simple. Users had to remember typed commands to select a collection, using specific words to reduce the list of documents returned. Articles were ordered by date, leaving the reader to scan for the most relevant items.

FT PROFILE made valuable information rapidly accessible to people outside business circles, but at a high price. In the 1990s access cost £1.60 a minute – the equivalent of £4.65 (or A$9.00) today.

The rise of Google

Following the world wide web’s launch in 1993, the number of websites grew exponentially.

Libraries provided public web access, and services such as the State Library of Victoria’s Vicnet offered low-cost access for organisations. Librarians taught users to find information online and build websites. However, the complex search systems struggled with exploding volumes of content and high numbers of new users.

In 1994, the book Managing Gigabytes, penned by three New Zealand computer scientists, presented solutions for this problem. Since the 1950s researchers had imagined a search engine that was fast, accessible to all, and which sorted documents by relevance.

In the 1990s, a Silicon Valley startup began to apply this knowledge – Larry Page and Sergey Brin used the principles in Managing Gigabytes to design Google’s iconic architecture.

After launching on September 4 1998, the Google revolution was in motion. People loved the simplicity of the search box, as well as a novel presentation of results that summarised how the retrieved pages matched the query.

In terms of functionality, Google Search was effective for a few reasons. It used the innovative approach of delivering results by counting web links in a page (a process called PageRank). But more importantly, its algorithm was very sophisticated; it not only matched search queries with the text within a page, but also with other text linking to that page (this was called anchor text).

Google’s popularity quickly surpassed competitors such as AltaVista and Yahoo Search. With more than 85% of the market share today, it remains the most popular search engine.

As the web expanded, however, access costs were contested.

Although consumers now search Google for free, payment is required to download certain articles and books. Many consumers still rely on libraries – while libraries themselves struggle with the rising costs of purchasing material to provide to the public for free.

What will the next 25 years bring?

Google has expanded far beyond Search. Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Pixel devices and other services show Google’s reach is vast.

With the introduction of AI tools, including Google’s Bard and the recently announced Gemini (a direct competitor to ChatGPT), Google is set to revolutionise search once again.

As Google continues to roll generative AI capabilities into Search, it will become common to read a quick information summary at the top of the results page, rather than dig for information yourself. A key challenge will be ensuring people don’t become complacent to the point that they blindly trust the generated outputs.

Fact-checking against original sources will remain as important as ever. After all, we have seen generative AI tools such as ChatGPT make headlines due to “hallucinations” and misinformation.

If inaccurate or incomplete search summaries aren’t revised, or are further paraphrased and presented without source material, the misinformation problem will only get worse.

Moreover, even if AI tools revolutionise search, they may fail to revolutionise access. As the AI industry grows, we’re seeing a shift towards content only being accessible for a fee, or through paid subscriptions.

The rise of AI provides an opportunity to revisit the tensions between public access and increasingly powerful commercial entities.The Conversation

Mark Sanderson, Professor of Information Retrieval, RMIT University; Julian Thomas, Distinguished Professor of Media and Communications; Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, RMIT University; Kieran Hegarty, Research Fellow (Automated Decision-Making Systems), RMIT University, and Lisa M. Given, Professor of Information Sciences & Director, Social Change Enabling Impact Platform, RMIT University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Call for Papers: Electronics Ecologies WASTE


Call for Papers: Electronics Ecologies WASTE

Author  Loren Dela Cruz
Date 30 August 2023

In Reassembling Rubbish, Josh Lepawsky argues that a more democratic electronics industry would involve “forms of public decision making in design and manufacturing” and that “production itself must be much more radically politicized.” To participate in reimagining electronics production, however, “citizens need access to data about wastes arising upstream in resource extraction and manufacturing” to counter the usual emphasis on downstream e-waste and recycling.

The second event in the Electronics < > Ecologies series for ADM+S, WASTE advances this agenda by exploring the material discards that attend each step of the supply chain for computational devices. Interrogating the current turn to circular design as a way out of the waste problem, we will focus on the very definition of waste that the electronics industry has adopted. The aim is to reveal blindspots, policy weaknesses, and problems that may arise as automated decision-making begins to influence product design, manufacturing and disposal.

Australia has one of the highest e-waste rates in the world. And while neighbouring countries have substantial markets for informal reuse and resale, current international regulations fall short of facilitating a legitimate secondary market for electronics due to outdated notions of “developing” economies’ needs.

Recycling is poor consolation for the environmental damage already wrought in the production and refinement of rare resources in technology supply chains. WASTE invites industry practitioners, designers, journalists and activists to join pioneers in the field of waste and discard studies to explore these issues, documenting the geopolitical and environmental dependencies involved in material extraction, use, reuse and recycling. Experiments that foreground the value of electronics discards and best practices for product stewardship are particularly welcome, to show the ongoing potential of technology’s many lives and afterlives.

Learning from already existing circular economies in the Asia-Pacific, and emerging best practices in sustainable user experience design, WASTE will share theories and approaches that support productive parasitism and durability as design priorities for electronics.

Researchers interested in being considered for a select number of presentation slots are invited to submit a 2-page position paper on one of the following themes:

  • Use/users/reusers
  • Secondary use markets, entrepreneurs and platforms
  • The temporality of use and disuse
  • Services supporting extended use, resale and reverse logistics
  • Re-use value: ethics of preservation and durability
  • Recycling v reuse case studies e.g. ocean-bound plastics
  • Theories of value
  • Wasted energy: hibernating, dormant, and comatose compute
  • Manufacturing, mining, chemical and material waste
  • Wasted landscapes: Sacrificial zones and superfund sites

As with all Electronics < > Ecologies events, scholars in the fields of design, cultural history, geography, media & communication, law, gender, Indigenous and socio-technical studies are particularly welcome to apply, to counter the dominance of majority male engineering voices in debates about the future state of technology and its uses.

Send 2-page papers to by 21 September 2023. Selected participants will be notified by 2 October 2023.

Event details
Electronics < > Ecologies #2 — WASTE
Monday 30 October 2023
University of Technology Sydney

Virtual and in person attendance will be available. Registration details will be announced shortly.

Learn more about the Electronics < > Ecologies series by visiting


Digital Energy Futures documentary wins Social Impact Award at SCINEMA International Film Festival

Digital Energy Futures Documentary Title Screen

Digital Energy Futures documentary wins Social Impact Award at SCINEMA International Film Festival

Author  Kathy Nickels
Date 28 August 2023

Digital Energy Futures documentary directed by ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making researcher Prof Sarah Pink has received the Social Impact Award from the Royal Institution of Australia SCINEMA International Film Festival.

The documentary was one of eight films selected to feature in the 2023 SCINEMA film festival, one of the largest science film festivals in the southern hemisphere. 

This film explores how people living in Australia see their future lives in a country where increasingly extreme weather, concerns about public health, growing levels of technological automation are creating uncertainty about demand for electricity in the future.

The documentary was directed by Prof Sarah Pink, and created by filmaker Jeni Lee from the ADM+S Centre at Monash University alongside researcher Dr Kari Dahlgren, from the Emerging Technologies Research Lab at Monash University.

The filmmakers follow the everyday lives of five households to ask how they are inventing their own ways to live with emerging technologies, imagining and planning for their own futures in ways that might complicate the ambitions of industry and policy makers.

SCINEMA runs from August 1 to August 31 every year. To be part of the festival and watch the films for free, register at the SCINEMA website.


ADM+S research featured in leading search engine conference SIGIR 2023

Dr Damiano Spina at SIGIR Conference 2023
Dr Damiano Spina at SIGIR Conference 2023

ADM+S research featured in leading search engine conference SIGIR 2023

Author  Loren Dela Cruz
Date 24 August 2023

ADM+S PhD Students Marwah Alaofi and Kaixin Ji, and Associate Investigator Dr Damiano Spina from RMIT University recently presented their research on generating user-centred approaches to evaluating and understanding information retrieval and interaction at the 46th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR).

SIGIR is the premier international forum for the latest developments and discussions in the Information Retrieval domain. In its 46th edition, SIGIR ’23 featured keynotes delivered by figures from both academia and industry, including representatives from tech companies such as Google and Microsoft, with a specific focus on the impact and the potential of Large Language Models (LLMs) in Information Retrieval research and development.

Damiano and Kaixin presented their work on understanding how our bodies, through pulse, sweat levels, and pupil size, are reacted and impacted during information-processing tasks such as reading, listening, speaking and typing. Their study informs machine learning models that train on this type of data. This research is a result of a collaboration with an ADM+S Research Fellow Dr Danula Hettiachchi and supervised by ADM+S Investigators Prof Flora Salim, Prof Falk Scholer and Dr Damiano Spina.

Read the paper: Examining the Impact of Uncontrolled Variables on Physiological Signals in User Studies for Information Processing Activities

Marwah presented her latest findings in using LLMs to generate synthetic search queries. Her research quantifies the similarity between human and LLM-generated queries and how they contribute to document pooling. Developed in collaboration with Luke Gallagher from RMIT University and supervised by ADM+S Investigators Prof Mark Sanderson and Prof Falk Scholer, and Paul Thomas from Microsoft, this research is part of Marwah’s ongoing research into understanding and measuring the impact of variability across users.

Read the paper: Can Generative LLMs Create Query Variants for Test Collections? An Exploratory Study

This research is supported by the Australian Research Council (CE200100005, DE200100064, DP180102687).


ADM+S Submission to the Commonwealth Government’s Discussion Paper on Safe and Responsible AI

Crowd in motion
ADM+S Submission on Safe and Responsible AI in Australia

ADM+S Submission to the Commonwealth Government’s Discussion Paper on Safe and Responsible AI

Author  Natalie Campbell
Date 17 August 2023

On 4 August 2023 ADM+S researchers made a submission to the Commonwealth Government’s Discussion Paper on Safe and Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The submission, made in response to the Department of Industry, Science and Resource’s consultation on Safe and Responsible AI in Australia, seeks to inform government consideration on how regulatory systems can promote responsible, ethical, and inclusive AI and ADM for the benefit of all Australians.

The ADM+S submission is the product of a collaborative process involving direct contributions from ADM+S researchers, led and consolidated by Prof Kimberlee Weatherall from the University of Sydney Law School.

Bringing together researchers from different institutions, disciplines and perspectives, this effort consolidates research and thinking to prompt government interventions around the risks that fast and innovative AI developments are posing to society, and greater public concern.

The paper outlines 19 consultation questions, discussing topics from foundation models, conformity and assurance, risk-based approaches, responsible AI practices in Australia, international developments of AI, and more.

The paper also includes key definitions of relevant terms, an overview of Australia’s existing enforcement gaps when it comes to AI, barriers to transparency, and a comparison to alternative regulatory designs which favour different approaches such as voluntary intervention or more rigorous regulations.

The updated regulatory and policy responses will build on the government’s multimillion investment in responsible AI through the 2023–24 Budget.

Read the full report via APO.


ADM+S acknowledged for contributions to eSafety Commissioner Report on Generative AI

2023 eSafety Position Statement on Generative AI
2023 eSafety Position Statement on Generative AI

ADM+S acknowledged for contributions to eSafety Commissioner Report on Generative AI

Author  Natalie Campbell
Date 15 August 2023

On 15 August 2023 the eSafety Commissioner released their Tech Trends Position Statement on Generative AI, acknowledging the ADM+S Centre and multiple key researchers for their contributions to the report.

With the arrival of generative AI, machine learning is no longer restricted to making predictions or classifications, and instead, can create completely new outputs trained from existing information. These systems include chatbots, image or video generators, and voice generators.

With these tech advancements come opportunities and risks. As Australia’s independent online safety regulator and educator, eSaftey’s commitment to understanding and anticipating tech trends and emerging challenges is reflected in a series of Tech Trend reports, collaborating with researchers, regulators, and industry experts to define interventions that can immediately improve user safety and empowerment.

The Tech Trends Position Statement on Generative AI provides an overview of the generative AI lifecycle, examples of its use and misuse, consideration of online safety risks and opportunities, as well as regulatory challenges and approaches.

Other topics covered in the report include:
• Generative AI lifecycle
• Risks, harms and opportunities
• Regulatory challenges and approaches
• eSafety’s approach
• Advice for users

Finally, the report suggests industry adopts a Safety by Design approach, incorporating safety measures at every stage of the product lifecycle and placing the onus on technology companies.

Read the full report


Dr Amanda Lawrence awarded Wikimedia Research Fund Grant

Image by Takver from Australia, Wikimedia Commons
Image by Takver from Australia, Wikimedia Commons

Dr Amanda Lawrence awarded Wikimedia Research Fund Grant

Author  Natalie Campbell
Date 11 August 2023

ADM+S Research Fellow Dr Amanda Lawrence has been awarded a research funding grant from the Wikimedia Foundation for her project, ‘Wikipedia, reliable sources and public policy issues’.

Through the Wikimedia research fund, the foundation seeks to promote the Wikimedia research community by supporting projects with potential for direct, positive impact on local or global Wikimedia communities.

‘Wikipedia, reliable sources and public policy issues’ will investigate the role of policy and research reports from organisations, government agencies, think tanks and academic research centres on Wikipedia.

Dr Lawrence said, “this research project seeks to understand the extent that policy research reports and papers from organisations are being cited on Wikipedia, what kinds of sources are being cited and how can editors and readers be supported in evaluating their credibility.”

Dr Lawrence’s recently completed PhD focussed on how diverse research publications and public policy from organisations are used and managed, setting a foundation for this deeper analysis of reliable sources on open knowledge systems.

“A key part of Wikimedia’s defence system against mis/disinformation is its content and citation policies. However, Wikipedia’s reliable sources policies are still grounded in traditional notions of the research publishing economy as primarily commercial and scholarly publishers and mainstream news media.

This is problematic for public policy and public interest topics which tends to have a more diverse media economy of sources, including organisations based in government, civil society, education and commercial sectors, and genres such as reports, policy briefs, fact sheets and datasets.”

Dr Lawrence will be leading the research project, in collaboration with Mr Angel Felipe Magnossao de Paula from RMIT University and Universitat Politècnica de València.

The funding criteria preferences research around technical and socio-technical solutions with the potential to enhance the technology in support of the Wikimedia projects, themes synonymous with Dr Lawrence’s role as Research Fellow in Open Knowledge Systems at RMIT University, and her previous role as Wikimedian in Residence at ADM+S.

“The project will provide new insights not only for Wikimedia but also for the wider evidence and policy research community. It will also help to strengthen Wikipedia’s verifiability processes and Wikimedia’s role as a leader in digital and media literacy and education.

I’m really looking forward to working with and learning from other researchers in Australia and the wider Wikimedia research community!”


ADM+S researcher awarded 2023 Max Crawford Medal

TJ Thomson
Medal recipient, Dr TJ Thomson

ADM+S researcher awarded 2023 Max Crawford Medal

Authors  Natalie Campbell and Dr TJ Thomson
Date 7 August 2023

Congratulations to Dr TJ Thomson from RMIT, who has been awarded the 2023 Max Crawford Medal, Australia’s most prestigious award for achievement and promise in the humanities.

On 7 August the Australian Academy of the Humanities, one of Australia’s four learned academies, announced Dr TJ Thomson, Senior Lecturer & DECRA Fellow at RMIT and ADM+S Affiliate, as the winner of the 2023 Medal.

Sitting at the intersection of visual communication and journalism studies, Dr Thomson’s research helps people understand the media they consume and encourages them to consider where it comes from, who is making it and how it’s made or edited.

“Having a more elevated sense of media literacy and engaging with trusted quality news sources helps people to be more engaged in society. Journalism is a place of public debate, exchange and conversation,’ Dr Thomson explains.

“If you’re not connecting to the media, you’re missing out on that whole conversation. And public institutions and organisations involved in that debate are also missing out on your voice and participation in that debate.”

Through a range of engagements, including a major campaign calling on people to check their media facts in partnership with the Australian Associated Press and Facebook, TJ helps Australians identify misinformation (things that are untrue or lacking context) and disinformation (claims that are intended to deceive) online.

He is also part of a ARC-funded grant that uses media literacy to try to combat misinformation in partnership with the ABC, National Film and Sound Archive, Museum of Australian Democracy and the Australian Library and Information Association.

Professor John Griffiths, the Awards Committee Chair of the Max Crawford Medal, commented, “TJ’s work excels in the criteria that define the Max Crawford medal. He is goal focussed, his work has quality and impact, and has clear implications concerning the enrichment of cultural life.

In the selection process, his nomination was seen as compelling, and he was described as a ‘brilliant scholar conducting an exemplary career.’”

The unique intersection of Dr Thomson’s research and his background in photojournalism is highly relevant alongside the rising use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) to develop images. His recent study What Does a Journalist Look like? Visualizing Journalistic Roles through AI focuses on the potentials and perils of generative visual AI, a topic that ties in with the theme of this year’s Annual Academy Symposium, which is being co-convened by ADM+S director Prof Julian Thomas, and associate director Prof Jean Burgess.

“The humanities play a foundational role in helping societies solve complex problems and in enabling people to engage with, understand, appreciate, and learn from culture. I’m grateful for the Academy’s work to champion initiatives and individuals who strengthen Australian society and deepen its understanding of its culture,” said Dr Thomson.

Dr Thomson will be presented with the medal during the 54th Annual Academy of the Humanities Symposium, held in Melbourne on 16-17 November 2023.


Dr Thao Phan Elected to the National Committee for the History and Philosophy of Science

Thao Phan

Dr Thao Phan Elected to the National Committee for the History and Philosophy of Science

Authors  Natalie Campbell
Date 4 August 2023

ADM+S Research Fellow Dr Thao Phan from Monash University has been elected to the Academy of Science’s National Committee for the History and Philosophy of Science (NCHPS).

As a committee member, Dr Phan joins a cohort of Australian scholars who actively engage in shaping the future of their field. Her expertise in feminist technoscience, gender studies, and race studies will inform policy debates within the NCHPS, to ensure growth in the field and support its researchers.

Committee members act as a point of contact for individuals involved in documenting, analysing, and publicising excellence in past and present Australian science, and work to ensure accessibility to these findings.

NCHPS Committee members assess the state of the field to consistently promote collaborations and maintain effective communication within the HPS/STS (History and Philosophy of Science/Science and Technology Studies) community.

Dr Phan said, “as an ECR representative on the committee, I’ll be keeping the Academy connected to the growing community of science and technology studies (STS) scholars in the region.

I’ll also be serving as a link between Australian and overseas researchers, and contributing an STS perspective to science and policy debates in Australia.”

Among the multidisciplinary academics in the group, Dr Phan’s intersecting sociological and technological research interests will promote the growth and support of diverse research initiatives within the field.


ADM+S Higher Degree Research Students build global connections at Oxford Internet Institute

Pictured from left: Anand Badolo, Dominique Carlon & Kunal Chand.
Pictured from left: Anand Badolo, Dominique Carlon & Kunal Chand.

ADM+S Higher Degree Research Students build global connections at Oxford Internet Institute

Authors  Anand Badola, Dominique Carlon & Kunal Chand
Date 4 August 2023

Higher Degree Research Students Anand Badola, Dominique Carlon and Kunal Chand from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society at QUT, recently attended the Oxford Internet Institute Summer Doctoral Programme (OII-SDP) where they participated in 2 weeks of classes and workshops, received feedback on their research projects, and met 28 other participants from around the world.

Reflecting on their experiences, Anand, Dominique and Kunal said, “The OII-SDP was a truly brilliant experience, opening our eyes to broader academic perspectives and setting the foundations to establish long lasting connections and friendships with scholars from across the world.

“There are too many experiences to mention, however some highlights included conducting a networking analysis with Bernie Hogan, a practical ethnographic class on the streets of Oxford with Adam Badger, learning creative ways of disseminating research with Kathyrn Eccles, examining the parallels between UFOs and Bayesian statistics with Joss Wright and using museum artefacts as a form of research ideation with Gemma Newlands.

“In addition to insightful classes on AI and social theory and scrutinising what topics are excluded from academic research, we also had wonderful experiences such as punting (where we were boarded by a pirate duck), visited Bletchley Park and the Museum of computing, and stayed at Christchurch college.

“The greatest highlight by far was forming friendships and collaborations from a network of brilliant and inspiring minds from across the world.”

The students extend their thanks to the OII, particularly Gemma Newlands for hosting a wonderful programme, and to the Digital Media Research Centre at QUT and the ADM+S for supporting their participation.


ADM+S Research Fellow Yong-Bin Kang recognised at the prestigious VIC iAwards 2023

VIC iWards

ADM+S Research Fellow Yong-Bin Kang recognised at the prestigious VIC iAwards 2023

Authors Anthony McCosker & Yong-Bin Kang
Date 4 August 2023

ADM+S Research Fellow Yong-Bin Kang has achieved recognition at the prestigious VIC iAwards 2023. As an integral part of two outstanding teams at Swinburne University, Yong-Bin has garnered the VIC iAwards Winner in the ‘Government & Public Sector Solution’ category and the VIC iAwards Merit Recipient in the ‘Technology Platform Solution’ category.

The iAwards ‘unearths, recognises and rewards excellence in Australian innovation that is making a difference and has the potential to create positive change for the community – whether this is at home, in the office or on a global scale’.

The VIC iAwards Winner was earned for the innovative AI-powered 5G IoT solution, designed to transform roadside asset monitoring using SmartGarbos. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies like smart IoT devices and edge computers, this solution addresses the critical issue of roadside asset maintenance. Developed in collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology, Brimbank City Council, Optus, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), the project has brought significant advancements to the municipality of Brimbank City Council.

Building on this work, Yong-Bin led an ADM+S project with Professor Anthony McCosker, Chief Investigator from the ADM+S at Swinburne University, to develop an AI governance framework and action plan for Brimbank City Council. The final report for the project will be released soon and will help guide other Councils seeking to deploy AI technologies responsibly.

The VIC iAwards Merit Recipient was awarded to Vidverity’s state-of-the-art online teaching platform. This recognition highlights the fruitful collaboration between Swinburne researchers and software engineers in Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence, and Vidversity’s exceptional expertise in the education domain. Together, they have crafted an innovative and highly effective modern learning platform.

Winners of the iAwards National finals will be announced in Adelaide at the end of August 2023.


ADM+S Researchers awarded 2023 ARC Future Fellowships

ADM+S recipients, Prof Yolande Strengers and Dr James Meese
ADM+S recipients, Prof Yolande Strengers and Dr James Meese

ADM+S Researchers awarded 2023 ARC Future Fellowships

Author  Natalie Campbell
Date 28 July 2023

Congratulations to 2023 ARC Future Fellowship recipients Dr James Meese from RMIT University and Prof Yolande Strengers from Monash University.

ADM+S researchers secured more than two million dollars in funding to support their respective projects.

The Future Fellowships program provides funding to mid-career researchers to support high quality research in areas of national and international benefit.

ADM+S Future Fellowship projects:

  • Professor Yolande Strengers: Home helper robots: Understanding our future lives with human-like AI.
  • Dr James Meese: Aligning personalised news recommendations with the public interest.

Prof Strengers’ research aims to understand and plan for the social effects of embedding ‘cute’ home helper robots into people’s everyday lives. The project is expected to generate new knowledge and resources to understand and respond to the emerging opportunities and risks associated with home helper robots, and ultimately inform robot design and policy to improve social outcomes, consumer protections and human-robot relationships.

Dr Meese’s project aims to investigate the growth of personalised recommendations in the Australian news sector, which sees readers and automated systems collectively adopting curatorial roles previously undertaken by editors. The research expects to provide the first evidence base around the adoption and deployment of personalised recommendations across the Australian news media, enhancing our understanding of how to sustain the important democratic role that the institution of journalism plays in a personalised and automated environment.

Centre director Prof Julian Thomas said, “we’re delighted by the successes of our ADM+S colleagues in the ARC’s 2023 Future Fellowship round.

“The Future Fellowship scheme plays a vital role in supporting Australia’s next generation of research leaders. Our Centre benefits enormously from the extraordinary work these scholars are doing in illuminating both the positive social possibilities and the hazards of our increasingly connected lives.”

Read the list of ARC funding projects here.


ADM+S and Telstra launch 2023 Australian Digital Inclusion Index

ADM+S Researchers at the 2023 ADII Launch
ADM+S Researchers at the 2023 ADII Launch

ADM+S and Telstra launch 2023 Australian Digital Inclusion Index

Author  Natalie Campbell
Date 26 July 2023

Together with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, Telstra has launched the 2023 Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) which reveals that digital inclusion is improving, but gaps remain persistent, and in some cases, have grown.

Telstra CEO Vicki Brady introduced the report and announced that digital inclusion is improving in Australia. However, findings indicate improvements are not being evenly shared.

Vicki Brady said “digital inclusion is based on the premise that everyone should be able to make full use of digital technologies and the benefits they bring. The index is all about measuring those trends of digital inclusion, and it measures across all states and territories in Australia.

Digital exclusion should not be an inevitable outcome of increased digitization, and there’s absolutely a need for ongoing conversation at a national level about what we do to address this.”

The ADII was first developed as a collaboration between Telstra and Swinburne University researchers in 2015 as a survey measure for three key dimensions of digital inclusion in Australia: Access, Affordability, and Digital Ability.*

Key Findings from the 2023 ADII Report
Figure: Key Findings from the 2023 ADII Report

The 2023 report indicates the overall ADII score continues in an upward trend from 67.5 in 2020, 71.1 in 2021, to the latest measure of 73.2.

*Data on these three measures is collected through surveys and weighted to the Australian population to produce a number between 0-100. These three scores are then combined (with equal weighting) to produce the overall digital inclusion/index score.

For the first time ever, the 2023 ADII measured the digital gap between First Nations and non-First Nations people in Australia. The gap is 7.5 points, with a considerably larger gap between First Nations and non-First Nations people living in remote (21.6 points) and very remote (23.5 points) areas.

Mapping the Digital Gap, a collaborative project between ADM+S and Telstra, enabled this statistic to be measured, by collecting digital inclusion data in 10 remote First Nations communities.

The ADII brings digital inclusion to the forefront of consideration for policymakers, businesses, and community organisations to inform the development of more effective policies, products, and programs to improve digital inclusion.

This year’s report found that the number of highly excluded Australians has dropped from 10.6% in 2021 to 9.4% in 2023. Digital ability has also improved nationally, from 64.4 points in 2021 to 64.9 points in 2023.

However, the recent report indicates while people with high levels of digital inclusion continue to grow their digital ability, those with lower digital inclusion are seeing smaller increases, and even some declines – particularly for people in the lower income bracket, or Australians aged over 75.

The 2023 report launch celebrated the continuing partnership between ADM+S and Telstra, and our joint mission to improve digital inclusion in Australia by identifying critical barriers through empirical research.


First Nations Digital Inclusion Plan launched to address the digital divide

Minister Rowland speaking at FNDIP launch in Sydney
Minister Rowland speaking at First Nations Digital Inclusion launch in Sydney

First Nations Digital Inclusion Plan launched to address the digital divide

Author  Leah Hawkins
Date 26 July 2023

The First Nations Digital Inclusion Plan developed to support a secure, sustainable and inclusive digital future for First Nations Australians has been launched by Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland.

The First Nations Digital Inclusion Plan (FNDIP) seeks to address communications access, affordability and digital ability divides for First Nations communities.

“This is particularly critical for people living in rural and regional communities, where the tyranny of distance has the greatest impact,” said Minister Rowland at the launch in Darwin.

It comes as the findings from the first year of the Mapping the Digital Gap project were launched with the Australian Digital Inclusion Index last week, confirming a notable digital gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, with the gap significantly higher for those in remote and very remote communities.

The FNDIP outlines a framework for delivering Target 17 (Access to Information) of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap by 2026, which aims for the elimination of digital inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. It incorporates targeted approaches to improving digital inclusion along the dimensions of access, affordability, and digital ability, and an emphasis on quality data – including that from the Mapping the Digital Gap project – to support the development agenda of First Nations communities.

Members of the First Nations Digital Inclusion Advisory Group and Expert Panel, Dr Lyndon Ormond-Parker (ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society at RMIT University) and Partner Investigator Lauren Ganley, (Head of Telstra’s First Nations Strategy & Engagement), spoke at the launch of the FNDIP. They discussed the work of the Advisory Group in the development of the Plan and the importance of closing the digital divide alongside Minister Rowland and Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney.

“Digital inclusion means all Australians, including First Nations people, have access and use digital technologies effectively to improve their everyday lives,” said Minister Burney.

“Strengthening digital inclusion for First Nations people, especially if they live in regional or remote Australia, provides significant opportunities for increased connections to community, country and cultural identity.”

The FNDIP has been developed by The Australian Government, represented by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA), with relevant members of the Coalition of Peaks, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and businesses and industry. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (DITRDCA), the First Nations Digital Inclusion Advisory Group, Australian Government agencies and relevant state and territory government agencies also contributed to development of the Plan.


Call for Papers: Electronics Ecologies REPAIR

Person repairing technology

Call for Papers: Electronics Ecologies REPAIR

Author  Loren Dela Cruz
Date 21 July 2023

Is electronics repair a right? And if so, who needs it?

The “Right to Repair” championed by consumers, advocates and entrepreneurs in recent years seems to be gaining traction. Policymakers around the world have responded to campaigns by iFixit, The Repair Association and other organizations with repairability ratings and guides, and legislation is advancing to discourage manufacturers from restrictive features such as proprietary fasteners and soldered-in components. A new wave of startups including Fairphone and Framework have found appreciative consumers for durable electronics, instigating a range of responses from established players who now promote repairable product concepts, “circular” design principles and a growing marketplace for parts, tools and manuals.

But even if a robust right to repair was enshrined by governments everywhere, would this stem the flood of e-waste generated by the existing business model for computer hardware? AI is just the latest in a long line of software hype cycles that have accelerated hardware disposability, created increased demand for specialized systems and components, and frustrated repair and reuse efforts. Even motivated companies cannot arrest the amount of physical hardware exhausted and abandoned in the move to a data-centric economy, and employees as much as consumers are left with little choice but to comply.

Given the dwindling supply of rare earth minerals, emissions from extraction, manufacturing and transport, and the staggering amount of electronics discarded and sent to hibernation globally every day, the benefits of keeping electronic devices in circulation for as long as possible seem obvious. But proprietary software, especially when deployed by vertically-integrated firms, erects barriers to the many social, commercial and ecological opportunities a healthy repair ecosystem creates.

The first in a new event series Electronics < > Ecologies organised by Melissa Gregg for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making & Society (ADM+S), REPAIR brings together expert practitioners, activists and researchers to discuss the planetary problem of electronics repair. We aim to broaden the current focus for repair activism to ask some fundamental questions: Can repairable electronics really solve the problem of product obsolescence? And what does electronics repair look like at scale?

Researchers interested in being considered for a select number of presentation opportunities should write a 2-page position paper outlining your current work in relation to one of the following themes:

  • Use cases, success stories and new opportunities for repair and reuse
  • Life cycle assessment: definitions, debates, deficiencies
  • Deep dives on system designs, hacks and repair workarounds
  • Commercial, B2B and B2C repair and refurbishment
  • Repair technicians’ livelihoods and experiences
  • Repair services and practices outside North America and Europe
  • Cross cultural comparisons of repair: independent entrepreneurs, informal markets, franchises, large corporates
  • Community, non-profit and non-metro repair
  • Repair’s software dependencies: open source vs. proprietary options
  • Repair and maintenance in Military, Government, Education and Enterprise IT
  • AI’s role in repair: e.g. diagnostics, fleet level analytics, predictive services, materials assessment

As with all Electronics < > Ecologies events, scholars in the fields of cultural history, geography, media & communication, law, gender, indigenous and socio-technical studies are particularly welcome to apply, to counter the dominance of majority male engineering voices in debates about the future state of technology and its uses.

Send 2-page papers to by August 4. Selected participants will be notified by August 14.

Event details
Electronics < > Ecologies #1 — REPAIR
Wednesday 30 August 2023
Griffith University, South Bank Campus
Brisbane, Australia

Virtual and in person attendance will be available. Registration details will be announced shortly.

Learn more about the Electronics < > Ecologies series by visiting


Lala Gutchen receives Caring for Country and Culture award at the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony

National NAIDOC Awards 2023 (Image credit: NAIDOC Week / Flickr)
National NAIDOC Awards 2023 (Image credit: NAIDOC Week / Flickr)

Lala Gutchen receives Caring for Country and Culture award at the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony

Author  Leah Hawkins
Date 6 July 2023

Congratulations to Mapping the Digital Gap co-researcher Lala Gutchen, Meuram woman from Erub Island in the Torres Strait, on her receipt of the Caring for Country and Culture award at the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony.

The award recognises Lala for her tireless commitment to the preservation of her country, language, and culture.

Lala is a dedicated community leader and educator, and is working to preserve the Erub Mer language for future generations. Working closely with her father, Kapua Gutchen, an Erub Mer mentor and language holder, they have recorded over 2000 unrecorded words in Erub Mer. She has worked with the Australian Literacy and Numeracy foundation, as well as tech giants Google and Apple, to create an Erub Mer literacy app, the first of its kind, as well as informing development of an early literacy game.

She was the first Torres Strait person to give on-country evidence as a key cultural witness in the successful Queensland Land Court case Waratah Coal vs Youth Verdict, showing the impact the Waratah Coal’s Galilee Coal Project would have on the Torres Strait which are threatened by rising sea levels due to climate change.

She has also been working as a co-reseacher with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making & Society’s (ADM+S) Mapping the Digital Gap research project over the last couple of years, providing invaluable expertise, local knowledge, and contributing to data collection that will provide a map of digital inclusion outcomes in Erub and contribute to the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) data snapshot of digital inclusion in remote First Nations communities across Australia.

Practising her culture as a fisherwoman and traditional gardener, Lala works on land and sea, demonstrating her exemplary strength, dedication, and her passion for preserving cultures and protecting the land.

Murrawah Johnson, Birdi Woman and Youth Verdict lead campaigner said, “Lala has done more in the last five years in her community than a lot of people do in their lifetime – and really, she is just getting started.”

Watch the National NAIDOC Award coverage on ABC iview (Lala from 1:17:44)


Prof Sarah Pink awarded 2023 Australian Laureate Fellowship

Sarah Pink

Prof Sarah Pink awarded 2023 Australian Laureate Fellowship

Author  Loren Dela Cruz
Date 3 July 2023

ADM+S Chief Investigator Professor Sarah Pink from Monash University has been awarded a 2023 Australian Laureate Fellowship by the Australian Research Council.

One of 17 Australian Laureate Fellows to be recognised in 2023, Professor Pink has received $3,074,590 in funding for her project, The impact of human futures on Australia’s digital and net zero transition (FL230100131).

The five-year research project will involve new ethnographic methods to investigate the role of future human values, practices, and trust in developing a path towards technologically supported environmental sustainability. It will deliver large-scale qualitative models of possible Australian futures and will combine this with quantitative forecasts to aid sustainable transitions in our economy (including in energy and automation).

Professor Pink is the second ADM+S Chief Investigator to be awarded the prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowship. Professor Axel Bruns was awarded a Fellowship in 2021.

“The Australian Laureate Fellowship scheme is fundamental to providing an excellent research training environment, exemplary mentorship to nurture early-career researchers, and conducting research for the benefit of the Australian and international communities,” said ARC Chief Executive Officer, Ms Judi Zielke PSM in a media announcement today.

Professor Pink is Co-Leader of the ADM+S Centre’s Transport and Mobilities Focus Area and People Research Program. She is an expert in automation and digital and emerging technologies, working across areas including future mobilities, health, homes and organisations. Pink is known globally for her leadership in futures anthropology and design anthropology, her methodological innovation in visual, sensory digital and qualitative futures research, and her expertise in combining theoretical scholarship with intervention in interdisciplinary and stakeholder projects.

Read the Australian Research Council announcement


Human-AI Cooperation to Tackle Misinformation and Polarization

CACM article - Human-AI Cooperation to Tackle Misinformation and Polarization

Human-AI Cooperation to Tackle Misinformation and Polarization

Author  Loren Dela Cruz
Date 28 June 2023

A new article co-authored by ADM+S researchers Dr Damiano Spina (RMIT University), Prof Mark Sanderson (RMIT University) and Prof Daniel Angus (QUT) along with Assoc Prof Gianluca Demartini (UQ), Dr Dana Mckay (RMIT University), Dr Lauren L. Saling (RMIT University) and Ryen W. White (Microsoft Research), discusses the need for closer collaboration between humans and machines to better address misinformation and polarization.

Published in the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) flagship magazine, Communications of the ACM (CACM), the article Human-AI Cooperation to Tackle Misinformation and Polarization explores two test cases: The first addresses a new framework to tackle misinformation by assisting fact-checkers with computational methods, and the second seeks new models to understand how search engines deliver personalized search results when little or no algorithmic personalization exists.

The article was featured in the ‘Big Trends’ section of the CACM’s special edition on the East Asia and Oceania region which showcases the most impactful research in computer science and technology in the region.

Co-chair of the CACM East Asia and Oceania Region Special Section and ADM+S Chief Investigator Prof Flora Salim (UNSW) said that, “The article is selected among all the submissions to the special section as one of the four big trends in the region. The article highlights the impact of an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research on misinformation and polarization conducted in Australia, but has findings and implications that are regional and global, and of interest to the CACM readership worldwide. Congratulations to all the authors for this outcome”.

Read the full article:

Learn more about the Communications of the ACM – East Asia and Oceania Region Special Section:


Generative AI: Language models and multimodal foundation models

Person using ChatGPT on phone

Generative AI: Language models and multimodal foundation models

Author  Loren Dela Cruz
Date 1 June 2023

ADM+S Centre Directors Prof Julian Thomas (RMIT University) and Prof Jean Burgess (QUT) have co-led a report with Prof Genevieve Bell AO (ANU) and Prof Shazia Sadiq (UQ) on Generative AI: Language models and multimodal foundation models.

Commissioned by Australia’s National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) at the request of the Minister for Industry and Science, the Hon Ed Husic MP in February 2023, the rapid research report addressed the following questions:

  • What are the opportunities and risks of applying large language models (LLMs) and multimodal foundation models (MFMs) learning technologies over the next two, five and ten years?
  • What are some examples of strategies that have been put in place internationally by other advanced economies since the launch of models like ChatGPT to address the potential opportunities and impacts of artificial intelligence (AI)?

Publicly released by the office of Australia’s Chief Scientist today, the report was written in response to rapid changes in the industry following the launch of ChatGPT (a generative AI-powered chatbot) in November 2022 and included input from 24 expert contributors and 7 peer reviewers including ADM+S researchers Dr Jose-Miguel Bello y Villarino (University of Sydney), Dr Dang Nguyen (RMIT University), Prof Christine Parker FASSA (University of Melbourne), Prof Jason Potts (RMIT University), Dr Aaron Snoswell (QUT), Prof Nicolas Suzor (QUT), Prof Kimberlee Weatherall (University of Sydney), Prof Haiqing Yu (RMIT University) and Prof Karen Yeung (University of Birmingham).

“The current ‘ChatGPT moment’ is provoking public conversation about the role AI should have in Australian society… Generative AI raises questions about opportunities and risks of widespread adoption; the scope and adequacy of national strategic planning and policies; the fitness of legal and regulatory approaches; and the implications of increasing geopolitical competition and geo-specific regulation in AI-related technologies and industries,” the report states.

The NSTC is responsible for providing advice to the Prime Minister and other Ministers on important science and technology issues facing Australia.

“It is incredibly gratifying to know that this work has helped inform the Australian government’s approach to and consultation on AI regulation,” said Prof Jean Burgess, Associate Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making & Society (ADM+S), and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

The report was developed in partnership with the Australian Council of Learned Academies, the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and the Australian Academy of Science.

Read the full report:

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