Automated informality: generative frictions in ADM systems

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Automated informality: generative frictions in ADM systems

Focus Areas: News & Media
Research Program: People, Data, Machines & Institutions
Status: Active

Informality, especially in economic practice, poses a recurrent problem in development literature. Economic informality is broadly associated with weaker economic outcomes: countries with larger informal sectors have lower per capita incomes, greater poverty, less financial development, and weaker growth in output, investment, and productivity. As such regimes across the globe have sought to intervene in, and formalize the informal sector through worker registration drives, technology transfers, and other interventions which attempt to expand the reach of the formal economy bringing swaths of the working population under regimes of taxation, workplace safety, and enhanced productivity.

Recently, such interventions have turned on the possibilities and promises of automation. While industrial robotics systems boost manufacturing productivity, digital platforms make possible immediate and traceable circulation of funds, even as biometric databases enable automated identity verification in commercial and civic contexts.  Here new technologies of automation hold out the potential to formalize economic practices by extending standardized protocols in the form of apps, database architectures, and machinery.

Scholars of informal work have emphasized that informal and formal economic practices have long been intertwined, and they are connected by exchanges of personnel, ideas, content, and capital as highly contingent interactions. Especially in the Global South, the informal is not exceptional but typical with informality characterizing most economic practices. In India, for example, the rise of formal IT outsourcing firms has been matched by the growth of temporary and unregulated service workers who clean the offices, fix the meals, and provide transportation to professional employees.

In Brazil, wageless trash collectors sort recyclable items from Rio de Janeiro’s municipal waste dumps enabling the operation of this public infrastructure while extracting a livelihood from reselling this waste. Far from eliminating informal economies contemporary regimes of accumulation generate value by weaving formal and informal practices together.

Currently missing from this body of scholarship is a range of contingent and non-standard work that proliferates as a result of the friction that exists within automated systems as complex self-coordinating and self-organising mechanisms. This type of work – which we call small automation – is different from gig work in that it is unregulated, opportunistic, and marginalised; it is largely invisible and opaque, but unlike ghost work, its invisibility is key to its survival.

Small automation is different from both gig work and ghost work in the sense that it encompasses a range of informal enterprises created by informal actors that circumvent, exploit, or co-opt automated systems, rather than being deployed by Silicon Valley to develop new technologies.

This project maps a range of informal automated activities that proliferate within automated systems across various empirical domains, such as click farming, CAPTCHA hacking, phone farming, dropshipping, OTP scams, fraudulent loan apps, and free jacking. The proliferation of automated informality can create unexpected implications for the operation of automated systems and our information environment more generally. Our focus on mapping automated informality works to supplement current research on gig work and ghost work while demonstrating the theoretical and empirical value of examining automated systems in context.

RESEARCHERS

Dang Nguyen

Dr Dang Nguyen

Lead Investigator,
RMIT University

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Danula Hettiachchi

Dr Danula Hettiachchi

Associate Investigator,
RMIT

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Rakesh Kumar

Rakesh Kumar

PhD Student,
Western Sydney University

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Humans, Machines, and Decision Responsibility

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Humans, Machines, and Decision Responsibility

Focus Areas: News & Media, Social Services, Mobilities, Health
Research Program: Institutions, Machines
Status: Active

Automated decision-making provokes a range of anxieties around transparency, equality, and accountability. A key response has been the call to ‘re-humanise’ automated decisions, with the hope that human control of automated systems might defend human values from mindless technocracy. Regulation of automated decision-making and AI often embeds this form of human centrism by prescribing a ‘human in the loop’ and the need for automated decisions to be ‘explained’. These requirements are central elements of the risk-based approaches AI regulation currently in development.

Despite their intuitive appeal, empirical research is revealing the limitations and complexities of these approaches. AI explanations sometimes provide little that is useful for decision subjects or decision makers, and risk distracting from more meaningful interrogation of why decisions are made. A human in the loop sometimes functions as a rubber stamp for automated decisions, cleaving accountability away from the true sites of decision responsibility.

This project seeks to generate better understandings of the functions, capacities, and normative role of humans within automated decision systems. It will investigate the ways that automated systems ought to explain or be explained to humans within decision processes, and how elements of decision-making including processes, responsibility, authority, and what counts as a decision itself, are fragmented and redistributed between humans, machines, and organisations. The goal is to generate empirical knowledge of how automated systems, humans, and organisations interact in different contexts when making decisions, and to move past outdated understandings of decisions-making that are hindering effective governance of automation in new decision contexts.

RESEARCHERS

Jake Goldenfein

Dr Jake Goldenfein

Lead Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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ADM+S Associate Director Jean Burgess

Prof Jean Burgess

Chief Investigator,
QUT

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Paul Henman headshot

Prof Paul Henman

Chief Investigator,
University of Queensland

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Christopher Leckie

Prof Chris Leckie

Chief Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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Prof Flora Salim

Prof Flora Salim

Chief Investigator,
UNSW

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Distinguished Professor Julian Thomas

Prof Julian Thomas

Chief Investigator,
RMIT University

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Kim Weatherall

Prof Kim Weatherall

Chief Investigator,
University of Sydney

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Henry Fraser

Dr Henry Fraser

Research Fellow,
QUT

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Dr Awais Hameed Khan

Research Fellow,
UQ

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Fan Yang

Dr Fan Yang

Research Fellow,
University of Melbourne

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Libby Young

Libby Young

PhD Student
University of Sydney

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Joe Brailsford

Joe Brailsford

Affiliate
University of Melbourne

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Fabio Mattioli

Dr Fabio Mattioli

Affiliate
University of Melbourne

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Christopher O'Neill

Dr Chris O’Neil

Affiliate,
Deakin University

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Ash Watson

Dr Ash Watson

Affiliate,
UNSW

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Mapping automated decision-making tools in administrative decision-making in NSW

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Mapping automated decision-making tools in administrative decision-making in NSW

Focus Areas: Social Services
Research Program: Institutions
Status: Completed

The project is a partnership between ADM+S and the New South Wales Ombudsman to map and analyse the use of automated systems in state and local government sectors in New South Wales (NSW). The project follows from a ground-breaking report on the use of technology in government decision-making published by the NSW Ombudsman in 2022.

The project will first map where and how NSW state and local government agencies are using automated systems in administrative decision processes. This is the first attempt to undertake such a systematic mapping in any jurisdiction in Australia and one of the very few attempts across the world. This first stage, led by Prof Paul Henman, Chief Investigator at ADM+S, and Dr Lyndal Sleep, Research Fellow at ADM+S, will distribute questionnaires and conduct targeted interviews with NSW state and local government agencies; building on the work from the ‘Mapping ADM in Australian Social Services’ project which mapped the use of automated systems in social security settings in Australia.

The second part of the research will be led by ADM+S Chief Investigator Prof Kimberlee Weatherall, and ADM+S Research Fellow Dr José-Miguel Bello y Villarino, which will analyse the different systems planned and in use by NSW public authorities, and the key risks and issues that emerge.

Researchers from ADM+S and Macquarie University will contribute to different legal and technical elements of the project.

The NSW Ombudsman will table a report to NSW Parliament with the findings of the research by the end of 2023.

 

This project culminated in the release of ‘Automated decision-making in New South Wales: mapping and analysis of the use of ADM systems by State and Local governments’, a report published in partnership with ADM+S and the New South Wales Ombudsman.

The report findings were presented as evidence during the first hearing of the NSW Artificial Intelligence Inquiry at Parliament House in Canberra on 8 March 2024.

Listen to Chief Researcher Prof Paul Henman on the ADM+S Podcast.

RESEARCHERS

Kimberlee Weatherall

Prof Kimberlee Weatherall

Chief Researcher, University of Sydney

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Paul Henman

Prof Paul Henman

Chief Researcher, UQ

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José-Miguel Bello y Villarino

Dr José-Miguel Bello y Villarino

Principal Researcher, University of Sydney

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ADM+S Member

C. Allan

Principal Project Officer, NSW Ombudsman’s Office

ADM+S Member

K. Whitworth

Senior Project Officer, NSW Ombudsman’s Office

Lyndal Sleep profile picture

Dr Lyndal Sleep

Associate Researcher,
Central Queensland University

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Jenny van der Arend

Dr Jenny van der Arend

Senior Research Assistant, UQ

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Jeffrey Chan

Assoc Prof Jeffrey Chan

Associate Researcher

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Terry Carney

Prof Terry Carney

Senior Researcher, University of Sydney

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Scarlet Wilcock

Dr Scarlet Wilcock

Associate Researcher, University of Sydney

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Rita Matulionyte

Dr Rita Matulionyte

Associate Researcher, Macquarie University

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Distinguished Professor Julian Thomas

Dist. Prof Julian Thomas

Advisory Board Member, RMIT University

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PARTNERS

NSW Ombudsman

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Risk, Rule-setters and Rule-takers: Regulatory approaches to risk in AI-supported and AI-automated decision-making for general welfare

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Risk, Rule-setters and Rule-takers: Regulatory approaches to risk in AI-supported and AI-automated decision-making for general welfare

Focus Areas: News and Media, Transport and Mobility, Health, and Social Services
Research Programs: Institutions
Status: Completed

This project seeks to scope several approaches to deal with Automated Decision-Making and Decision-Support Systems-Related Risks (ADM/DSS RR) through norms and provide an evaluation of those approaches for their consideration in regulatory contexts.

The standpoint is to look at risk control of those systems beyond ethics or social principles and focus the discussion on the possible interventions from the regulator’s perspective.

The overarching questions and sub-questions guiding this project are:

  • What is risk in an ADM / DS System?
    – Is it possible to define it?
    – How is it different from technological risk?
    – How is it different from the concept of risk in
    management?
    – Are all “potential harms” risks of and ADM/DSS?
    – Is there a concept of risk usable for regulatory
    purposes?
  • What types of risks are common and which ones specific to ADM/DSS?
    – Due to the nature of the risk?
    – Due to the scale of the risk?
  • What is an acceptable risk:
    – From the point of view of society as a whole
    – From the point of view of the most vulnerable groups
    – From the point of view of the owner of the AI system
    – From the point of view of the users of the system
  • Can risk be separated from questions of liability/ responsibility or do they need to be regulated together?

PUBLICATIONS

Acceptable risks in Europe’s Proposed AI Act: Reasonableness and other principles for deciding how much risk management is enough, 2023

Bello y Villarino, J.M., Fraser, H.

Journal article

The Tale of Two Automated States: Why one-size-fits-all approach to administrative law reform to accommodate AI will fail, 2023

Bello y Villarino, J.M.

Book chapter

International Human Rights, Artificial Intelligence, and the Challenge for the Pondering State: Time to Regulate? 2022

Bello y Villarino, J.M., et al.

Journal article

Legal Issues Around Autonomous Systems – Civil Liability, Fault and System Safety, 2022

Fraser, H.

Conference paper

AI Opacity and Explainability in Tort Litigation, 2022

Snoswell, A., Fraser, H., Simcock, R.

Conference paper

Where residual risks reside: A comparative approach to art 9(4) of the EU’s Proposed AI Regulation, 2021

Bello y Villarino, J.M, Fraser, H.

Working paper

RESEARCHERS

Kimberlee Weatherall

Prof Kimberlee Weatherall

Chief Investigator,
University of Sydney

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Nic Suzor

Prof Nicolas Suzor

Chief Investigator,
QUT

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José-Miguel Bello y Villarino

Dr José-Miguel Bello Villarino

Research Fellow,
University of Sydney

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Henry Fraser

Dr Henry Fraser

Research Fellow,
QUT

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PARTNERS

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Gradient Institute

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Big Data, Sexual Surveillance and Alternative Governance

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Big Data, Sexual Surveillance and Alternative Governance

Focus Area: Health
Research Programs: Institutions
Status: Active

The contested governance of sexual technologies – from apps and platforms to bots and devices – provides a unique case study through which to identify current problems in automated decision-making and to generate new principles, values and approaches. This project will examine existing practices in the collection and use of sexual data by both private and public actors.

It will investigate how algorithms are taught to understand sex, gender and sexuality through digital proxies and their potential to amplify discrimination. It will explore alternative frameworks for governing sexual technologies, including collective approaches to content moderation and data governance.

PUBLICATIONS

High Risk Hustling: Payment Processors Sexual Proxies and Discrimination by Design (2023)

Dr Zahra Stardust, Danielle Blunt, Gabriella Garcia, et al.

Journal article

Submission to the Meta Oversight Board RE Gender, Identity and Nudity (2023)

Dr Zahra Stardust

Submission

Safety for Whom? Investigating How Platforms Frame and Perform Safety and Harm Interventions (2022)

Dr Zahra Stardust, Dr Rosalie Gillett and Prof Jean Burgess

Journal article

Manifesto for sex positive social media (2022)

Dr Zahra Stardust  Zahra, Emily van der Nagel, Katrin  Tiidenberg, et al.

Report

Automating Whorephoia: Sex, Technology and the Violence of Deplatforming (2021)

Dr Zahra Stardust and Danielle Blunt

Journal article

RESEARCHERS

Zahra Stardust profile picture

Dr Zahra Stardust

Lead Investigator,
QUT

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Nic Suzor

Prof Nicolas Suzor

Chief Investigator,
QUT

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Assessing Prospective Harms (vs Benefits) associated with ADM

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Assessing Prospective Harms (vs Benefits) associated with ADM

Focus Areas: News and Media, Transport and Mobility, Health, and Social Services
Research Programs: Data, Machines, Institutions
Status: 
Completed

The project (which is now completed) was set up as a preliminary exercise in assessing prospective harms vs prospective benefits associated with ADM as a first step to amelioration. It took a two-pronged approach: firstly, focusing on individual and social harms/costs that may be associated with automated or semi-automated data processing (including collection, retention, dissemination, and other uses of data) – versus prospective benefits; and secondly, assessing the levels of risk of these harms ranging from nebulous to very significant (and acknowledging there may be
uncertain outcomes and uneven distributions). The overall aim was thus to have a fuller appreciation of harms and risks as a precursor to thinking practically about amelioration/mitigation of costs.

More specifically, the project was geared to questions of elaborating and understanding the range of prospective harms associated with loss of control over data processing for individuals, groups and society, and indeed the entirety of the living world, as a first step to finding solutions such as changes in law, or social practices, or business methods, or technologies (or some combination of these).

The principal activity of the project was to have a series of workshops planned, organised and hosted by the coordinators CI Richardson, AI Roberts and Postdoc Jiménez (with administrator Astari.Kusumawardani providing support). The workshops featured the work of diverse ADM+S CIs, AIs, Researchers and Affiliates and adopted an intense mode of interrogation and discussion along with suggestions. The aim was to assist ADMS personnel with the preparation of reports, books and scholarly articles (as well as share insights and ideas).

Topics and presenters in the workshop series included the following:
•March: Aitor Jiménez (Megan Richardson chair), Crimes of digital capitalism
•March: Ariadna Matamoros- Fernández, Rosalie Gillett, Anjalee de Silva (Aitor Jiménez chair), •Gendered harm
•April: José-Miguel Bello Villarino, Henry Fraser (Megan Richardson chair), Where residual risks reside: a comparative approach to AI risk management under the EU’s AI Act Proposal
•April: Jake Goldenfein (Megan Richardsonchair) How competing constructions of humans legitimize online advertising
•May: Simon Coghlan, Christine Parker (Andy Roberts, chair), A preliminary framework for understanding how ADM/AI technologies can harm non-human animals
•June: Lisa Archbold (Andy Roberts chair), Children’s developmental privacy
•July: Frank Pasquale/Jeannie Paterson (Megan Richardson chair: co-hosted with CAIDE), Automated grace: toward more humane benefits administration via AI
•August: James Meese (Megan Richardson chair), Regulating news recommendation: looking beyond harm
•September: Megan Richardson (Jeannie Paterson chair – co-hosted with CAIDE), Trust norms and data rights
•October: Ariadna Matamoros- Fernández, Louisa Bartolo, Luke Troynar (Aitor Jiménez chair), Addressing harmful humour as an online safety issue
•November: Damian Clifford (Megan Richardson chair), Data protection and (in)accuracy

PUBLICATIONS

Harm to Nonhuman Animals from AI: a Systematic Account and Framework, 2023

Parker, C., Coghlan, S.

Journal article

Humour as an online safety issue: Exploring solutions to help platforms better address this form of expression, 2023

Matamoros-Fernández, A., Bartolo, L., Troynar, L.

Journal article

The Crimes of Digital Capitalism, 2022

Jiménez, A., Oleson, J.C.

Journal article

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Investigator Christine Parker

Prof Christine Parker

Lead Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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Jake Goldenfein

Dr Jake Goldenfein

Chief Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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Kim Weatherall

Prof Kim Weatherall

Chief Investigator,
University of Sydney

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Zofia Bednarz

Dr Zofia Bednarz

Associate Investigator,
University of Sydney

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Simon Coghlan

Dr Simon Coghlan

Associate Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Andrew Kenyon

Prof Andrew Kenyon

Associate Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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Dr Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández

Associate Investigator,
QUT

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James Meese

Dr James Meese

Associate Investigator,
RMIT University

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Andrew Roberts

Prof Andrew Roberts

Associate Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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ADM+S Investigator Ivana Jurko

Ivana Jurko

Partner Investigator,
Red Cross Australia

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José-Miguel Bello y Villarino

Dr José-Miguel Bello Villarino

Research Fellow,
University of Sydney

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Anjalee de Silva

Dr Anjalee de Silva

Research Fellow,
University of Melbourne

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Henry Fraser

Dr Henry Fraser

Research Fellow,
QUT

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Dr Rosalie Gillett

Research Fellow,
QUT

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Damian Clifford

Dr Damian Clifford

Affiliate,
ANU

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ADM+S Investigator Fiona Haines

Prof Fiona Haines

Affiliate,
University of Melbourne

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Aitor Jiménez

Dr Aitor Jiménez

Affiliate,
University of Melbourne

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Kobi Leins

Dr Kobi Leins

Affiliate,
King’s College

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Jeannie Paterson

Prof Jeannie Paterson

Affiliate,
University of Melbourne

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Affiliate,
University of Melbourne

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PARTNERS

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Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC)

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Enabling digital transformation and considering digital futures within the cultural sector: Evaluating ACMI’s CEO digital mentoring project

PROJECT SUMMARY

ACMI building in the evening

Enabling digital transformation and considering digital futures within the cultural sector: Evaluating ACMI’s CEO digital mentoring project

Focus Area: News & Media
Research Program: Institutions
Status: Completed

This research investigated the enablers of digital transformation and considers digital futures within the cultural sector through evaluating the outcomes of ACMI’s CEO Digital Mentoring Program.

Funded by the Ian Potter Foundation and delivered in conjunction with the Australia Council, ACMI’s CEO Digital Mentoring Program offered strategic technology and digital mentoring for senior decision-making staff within the Australian cultural sector.

With digital platforms fundamentally reshaping how cultural content is created, distributed, and consumed, this research considered how cultural organisations might be better equipped to, and supported in, adopting, managing, and mitigating the risks associated with increasingly advanced technologies.

PUBLICATIONS

National Cultural Policy consultation: ADM+S together with the Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC), 2022

Holcombe-James, I., Pappalardo, K., et al.

Submission

From the top: learning from ACMI’s CEO Digital Mentoring Program 2021-22, 2022

Holcombe-James, I., et al.

Report

Enabling digital transformation within the cultural sector? Documenting ACMI’s CEO digital mentoring pilot program: executive summary, 2022

Holcombe-James, I.

Report

RESEARCHERS

Indigo Holcombe-James

Dr Indigo Holcombe-James

Lead Investigator

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Stephanie Livingstone

Stephanie Livingstone

PhD Student

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PARTNERS

Public Interest Litigation for AI Accountability

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Public Interest Litigation for AI Accountability

Focus Areas: News and Media, Health, Social Services, Transport and Mobilities
Research Program: Institutions
Status: Active

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,
QUT

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Henry Fraser

Dr Henry Fraser

Research Fellow,
QUT

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Dr Zahra Stardust

Research Fellow,
QUT

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Political Economy of Sex Tech

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Political Economy of Sex Tech

Focus Area: News & Media
Research Programs: Data, Institutions
Status: Active

Smart sex technologies and networked apps are being used in sex and relationship education, to enhance sexual wellness and to improve sexual and reproductive health. To do so, they collect and process substantial amounts of intimate data. This project examines the political economy of ‘sex tech’ in order to identify how sexual technologies are being governed at scale, how sexual data is being collected, stored, shared and monetised, and how the material benefits of sex tech may be more equitably distributed.

It will provide empirical grounding to enrich scholarship on ethical data governance, predictive profiling and accountability of smart technologies.

PUBLICATIONS

Sex tech in an age of surveillance capitalism: Design, Data and Governance, 2024

Stardust, Z.

Book chapter

Sex tech entrepreneurs: Governing intimate data in start-up culture, 2023

Stardust, Z., Kennedy, J., Albury, K

Journal article

Surveillance does not equal safety: Police, data and consent on dating apps, 2022

Stardust, Z., Gillett, R., Albury, K.

Journal article

Public interest sex tech hackathon: speculative futures and participatory design, 2022

Stardust, Z., Kennedy, J., Albury, K.

Report

RESEARCHERS

Zahra Stardust profile picture

Dr Zahra Stardust

Lead Investigator,
QUT

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Nic Suzor

Prof Nicolas Suzor

Chief Investigator,
QUT

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Ecological Implications of Data Centres

PROJECT SUMMARY

Data centre

Ecological Implications of Data Centres

Focus Areas: News and Media, Transport and Mobility, Health, Social Services
Research Program: Institutions
Status: Active

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 and submarine cables in urban and coastal 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. Moreover, when landing, telecom subsea cables risk to damage the local biodiversity (especially marine plants).

Thus, this project will ask: what shapes the environmental impacts of data centres cooling infrastructures? What are the ecological implications involved with the landing of a telecom submarine cable or the creation of a new data centre? How are these ecological impacts made visible to stakeholders? To what extent do environmental assessments succeed in reconciling the various interests at stake (security of infrastructures, maritime trade, marine biodiversity) in the passage of a telecomunication cable? How do ecological and infrastructural vulnerabilities of both data centers and telecom submarine cables shape the world-wide interconnection of data at the heart of the digital economy?

In order to address this question, we will take as a case study the rapid growth of data centres and telecommunication subsea cables 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 by ADM+S Research Fellow Dr Loup Cellard in collaboration with Dr Clément Marquet (Mines Paris).

PUBLICATIONS

Just Transitions in Australia: Moving Towards Low Carbon Lives Across Policy, Industry and Practice, 2022

Parker, C., Haines, F., et al.

Submission

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Investigator Christine Parker

Prof Christine Parker

Lead Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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ADM+S Investigator Karen Yeung

Prof Karen Yeung

Partner Investigator,
University of Birmingham

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Loup Cellard

Dr Loup Cellard

Affiliate,
Datactivist Coop

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ADM+S Investigator Fiona Haines

Prof Fiona Haines

Affiliate,
University of Melbourne

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PARTNERS

Université de Technologie de Compiègne Logo

Université de Technologie de Compiègne

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University of Birmingham

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Governing ADM Use

PROJECT SUMMARY

Blurred people in busy precinct

Governing ADM Use

Focus Areas: News and Media, Transport and Mobility, Health, and Social Services
Research Program: Institutions
Status: Completed

The Governing ADM Use Project was an ‘umbrella’ project designed to seed the work of the ADM+S Institutions program in the rapidly evolving area of ADM and AI regulation. The project conceives the challenge of governing ADM use as a multi layered network incorporating the regulation of the use of ADM by government authorities, the regulation by government of ADM use in the commercial and private sector, and the interaction of ADM-specific regulation and governance with a range of other areas of law, regulation and governance that impinge and interact (more or less directly) with the specific governance of ADM/AI.

This latter category extends from data and privacy regulation to competition and consumer protection and beyond to sector and problem specific areas of regulation such as energy regulation, worker health and safety, labour force regulation and importantly environmental and planning laws. This program of work has sought to understand the special role of law as well as broader influences on public and private sector ADM use, and how these change – or need to change – to respond to the impacts of automation. A particular feature of this program of work has been to expand our understanding of the eco-system of law and governance properly concerned with regulating ADM/AI to include how we govern the ecological impact of ADM/AI use.

PUBLICATIONS

Harm to Nonhuman Animals from AI: a Systematic Account and Framework, 2023

Coghlan, S., Parker, C.

Journal article

Data problems and legal solutions – some thoughts beyond privacy, 2023

Weatherall, K., et al.

Book chapter

Reconstituting the Contemporary Corporation Through Ecologically Responsive Regulation, 2022

Parker, C., Haines, F.

Journal article

From ‘Corporate Governance’ to Ecological Regulation: Flipping the Regulatory Story on Climate Change, 2022

Parker, C.

Journal article

Algorithms as Figures. Towards a post-digital ethnography of algorithmic contexts, 2022

Cellard, L.

Journal article

The crimes of digital capitalism, 2022

Jiménez, A.

Journal article

Just Transitions in Australia: Moving Towards Low Carbon Lives Across Policy, Industry and Practice, 2022

Parker, C., Haines, F., et al.

Submission

More on Convening Technology: Blockchain, Fashion, and the Right to Know, 2022

Richardson, M., et al.

Journal article

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Digital Platform Services Inquiry Discussion Paper for Interim Report No 5: Updating competition and consumer law for digital platform services, 2022

Weatherall, K., et al.

Submission

Online Privacy Bill Consultation Submission, 2022

Goldenfein, J., Weatherall, K., Parker, C.

Submission

Submission in response to the Privacy Act Review, 2022

Weatherall, K., Trezise, M.

Submission

Submission to the Statutory Reviewer on the Consumer Data Right, 2022

Weatherall, K., Bednarz, Z., Dolman, C.

Submission

Submission on the Commonwealth Government Trusted Digital Identity Framework Position Paper, 2021

Weatherall, K.

Submission

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Investigator Christine Parker

Prof Christine Parker

Lead Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Lead Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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Jake Goldenfein

Dr Jake Goldenfein

Chief Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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Kim Weatherall

Prof Kim Weatherall

Chief Investigator,
University of Sydney

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ADM+S Investigator Karen Yeung

Prof Karen Yeung

Partner Investigator,
University of Birmingham

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José-Miguel Bello y Villarino

Dr José-Miguel Bello y Villarino

Research Fellow,
University of Sydney

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Henry Fraser

Dr Henry Fraser

Research Fellow,
QUT

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Loup Cellard

Dr Loup Cellard

Affiliate,
Datactivist Coop

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ADM+S Investigator Fiona Haines

Prof Fiona Haines

Affiliate,
University of Melbourne

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Aitor Jiménez

Dr Aitor Jiménez

Affiliate,
University of Melbourne

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Democratic Practices of Governance Given ADM

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Democratic Practices of Governance Given ADM

Focus Areas: News and Media, Transport and Mobility, Health, and Social Services
Research Program: Institutions
Status: Completed

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.

PUBLICATIONS

Just Transitions in Australia: Moving Towards Low Carbon Lives Across Policy, Industry and Practice, 2022

Parker, C., Haines, F.

Submission

Privacy in the Republic, 2022

Kenyon, A.

Book

Countering hate speech in context: positive freedom of speech, 2022

de Silva, A., Kenyon, A.

Journal article

Law as Counterspeech, 2022

de Silva, A., et al.

Journal article

A Platformed Response to Hate Speech Against Women, 2022

de Silva, A.

Journal article

Introduction: Conceptualisations of Violence, 2022

de Silva, A., et al.

Book Chapter

The Crimes of Digital Capitalism, 2022

Jiménez, A.

Journal article

Law, Code and Exploitation: How Corporations Regulate the Working Conditions of the Digital Proletariat, 2022

Jiménez, A.

Journal article

The Australian News Media Bargaining Code, 2021

Goldenfein, J.

Analysis brief

Democracy of ExpressionPositive Free Speech and Law, 2021

Kenyon, A.

Book

Hate Speech Against Women: Addressing a Democratic Crisis, 2021

de Silva, A.

Policy brief

Positive Free Speech: A Democratic Freedom, 2021

Kenyon, A.

Book chapter

Surveillance Punitivism: Colonialism, Racism, and State Terrorism in Spain, 2021

Jiménez, A.

Journal article

Privacy, Punishment and Private Law, 2021

Roberts, A., Richardson, M.

Book chapter

Digital capitalism, what are the possible alternatives? 2021

Jiménez, A., et al.

Journal article

Adtech and children’s data rights, 2021

Archbold, L., Clifford, D., et al.

Journal article

Children’s Privacy in Lockdown: Intersections between Privacy, Participation and Protection Rights in a Pandemic, 2021

Archbold, L., Clifford, D., et al.

Journal article

Esports and the Platforming of Children’s During COVID-19, 2021

Fordyce, R., Archbold, L., et al.

Journal article

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Investigator Christine Parker

Prof Christine Parker

Lead Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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Mark Andrejevic

Prof Mark Andrejevic

Chief Investigator,
Monash University

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Jake Goldenfein

Dr Jake Goldenfein

Chief Investigator,
Melbourne University

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Distinguished Professor Julian Thomas

Prof Julian Thomas

Chief Investigator,
RMIT University

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ADM+S Investigator Sarah Erfani

Dr Sarah Erfani

Associate Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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Andrew Roberts

Prof Andrew Roberts

Associate Investigator,
University of Melbourne

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ADM+S Investigator Ivana Jurko

Ivana Jurko

Partner Investigator,
Red Cross Australia

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Anjalee de Silva

Dr Anjalee de Silva

Research Fellow,
University of Melbourne

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Chathurika Akurugoda

Chathurika Akurugoda

PhD Student,
University of Melbourne

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Lisa Archbold

Lisa Archbald

PhD Student,
University of Melbourne

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Phoebe Galbally

Phoebe Galbally

PhD Student,
University of Melbourne

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Avantik Tamta

Avantik Tamta

PhD Student,
University of Melbourne

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Aitor Jiménez

Dr Aitor Jiménez

Affiliate,
University of Melbourne

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ADM+S Investigator Fiona Haines

Prof Fiona Haines

Affiliate,
University of Melbourne

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Affiliate,
University of Melbourne

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Mapping ADM Across Sectors

PROJECT SUMMARY

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Mapping ADM Across Sectors

Focus Areas: News and Media, Transport and Mobility, Health, and Social Services
Research Programs: Data, Machines, Institutions, and People
Status: Active

ADM systems have the potential to greatly improve the overall quality of life in society, but they may also exacerbate social, political, and economic inequality. The role they play in reinforcing, reproducing, and reconfiguring power relations is, as recent events demonstrate, a key concern with respect to the deployment of automated decision making systems. When such systems are used to decide how benefits, resources, services, or information are allocated in society, they bear directly on the character and quality of life in that society. We are interested in both the potential benefits of the deployment of the technology and the potential harms. We do not treat such systems in the abstract, but are centrally concerned with the social, political, and economic relations in which they are embedded and which shape their deployment. A key question for the ADM+S Centre, in other words, is not just how best to design and deploy the technology, but what economic and political arrangements are most compatible with their fair, ethical, responsible, and democratic use.

The Social Issues in Automated Decision-Making report brings together material collected from discussions with leaders in the Centre’s focus areas and feedback from an international collection of experts in their respective domains. For each focus area we followed a similar methodology for canvassing key social issues. We started by discussing key social issues with Focus Area leaders and their teams. We then canvassed the academic literature, reports by industry groups and relevant independent organisations, and media coverage. For each area, we sought to identify key applications of ADM and the possible social benefits and harms with which they are associated. We also sought to identify continuities in these social issues both within and across the Centre’s main focus areas.

This is neither a final nor a definitive report. It marks the first step in the Centre’s ongoing social issues mapping project. The document will develop over time to reflect the insights that emerge from ongoing collaborations.

Read the report.

PUBLICATIONS

Social issues in ADM

Social Issues in Automated Decision Making, 2022

O’Neill, C., Sadowski, J.,  Andrejevic, M. et al

Report

RESEARCHERS

Mark Andrejevic

Prof Mark Andrejevic

Lead Investigator,
Monash University

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Paul Henman

Prof Paul Henman

Chief Investigator,
University of Queensland

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ADM+S Investigator Ramon Lobato

Assoc Prof Ramon Lobato

Associate Investigator,
RMIT University

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Jathan Sadowski

Dr Jathan Sadowski

Associate Investigator,
Monash University

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Georgia Van Toorn

Dr Georgia van Toorn

Associate Investigator,
UNSW

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Kelly Lewis

Dr Kelly Lewis

Research Fellow,
Monash University

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Christopher O'Neill

Dr Christopher O’Neil

Research Fellow,
Monash University

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Daniel Binns

Dr Daniel Binns

Affiliate,
RMIT University

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Dr Lyndal Sleep

Affiliate,
Central Queensland University

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PARTNERS

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Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner

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Australian Red Cross Logo

Australian Red Cross

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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): News & Media, Social Services, Health, Transport & Mobilities
Research Program: Institutions
Status: Active

This project explores the complex interplay between automated decision-making (ADM) and generative artificial intelligence (GAI) technologies and the Australian labour market, utilising key variables such as geography, industry, sector, and occupation among others. The main objectives involve the development of a theoretical categorisation of AI systems, followed by its empirical application using statistical data from Australia (e.g. ABS labour and business surveys). Our goal is to map the influences of AI technologies across the economy, taking into consideration machine exposure (i.e., via efficiency, competency, or autonomy), human insulation (i.e., ability advantages), and institutional barriers (i.e., regulatory risks). 

Key outputs include an AI system taxonomy, a multifaceted scoring system for evaluating the interplay between machine and human tasks, and a database monitoring potential AI adoption and impact across various sectors. These are used for granular analysis of the potential risks and advantages associated with AI integration, identifying areas of high complementarity between technology tools and workers and areas of high susceptibility to machine substitution. 

Project outcomes provide a nuanced understanding of AI’s impact on the Australian labour market, establishing a predictive framework for future work dynamics. Our findings contribute significantly to businesses, academic research, and policy development by generating a detailed impact map of AI across industries. These insights could inform strategic actions, optimising AI benefits and mitigating risks, and shaping workforce development initiatives. Additionally, this project contributes to the broader discourse on AI’s ethical and societal implications by advocating a balanced approach to AI integration in the Australian labour market, thereby promoting harmonious human-machine coexistence and laying the groundwork for a prosperous, AI-enhanced future. 

PUBLICATIONS

Large Language Models Reduce Agency Costs, 2023

Ilyushina, N., Potts, J., et al.

Journal article

Profiting from data commons – Theory, evidence and strategy implications, 2023

Potts, J., et al.

Journal article

Decentralised autonomous organisations: A new research agenda for labour economics, 2022

Ilyushina, N., MacDonald, T.

Journal article

RESEARCHERS

ADM+S Chief Investigator Jason Potts

Prof Jason Potts

Lead Investigator,
RMIT University

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Paul Henman

Prof Paul Henman

Chief Investigator,
University of Queensland

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Distinguished Professor Julian Thomas

Prof Julian Thomas

Chief Investigator,
RMIT University

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ADM+S Investigator Ivana Jurko

Ivana Jurko

Partner Investigator,
Red Cross Australia

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ADM+S Chief Investigator Megan Richardson

Prof Megan Richardson

Affiliate,
University of Melbourne

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PARTNERS

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Australian Red Cross

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