The News and Media Focus Area will investigate and improve the uses and impacts of automated decision-making in news work, social media platforms, and the digital media and communication environment more broadly.

Modern digital news and media platforms deploy automated decision-making systems intensively, with positive as well as problematic results. Search engines, personalised newsfeeds, content moderation systems and programmatic advertising all play integral roles in media.

This enables new forms of computer-assisted reporting and audience analytics in journalism, but also creates risks to democratic processes and social cohesion through the automated curation of personalised information and the algorithmic amplification of misinformation and other social harms based on selection principles that are transparent and inequitable.

Building on novel and innovative research frameworks, the News and Media Focus Area investigates the impact of automated decision-making in this field.

RESEARCH PROJECTS

Public Interest Litigation for AI Accountability

Identifying the opportunities, enablers and barriers for public interest litigation to promote accountability and fairness in automated decision-making.

Political Economy of Sex Tech

Examining 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.

Automating safety: developing better data models to help foster prosocial platforms

Indentifying how misunderstandings of harm and safety flow into flawed data logics and ineffective automated digital platform responses.

Automated Content Regulation (disinformation and political bias)

Evaluating the moderation of social media content, which has become radically more reliant on machine learning classifiers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ecological Implications of Data Centres

What shapes the environmental impacts of data centres cooling infrastructures?

Mapping the Public Conversation on ADM

Maping the extent, qualities and diversity of conversations about automation and ADM in Australia and globally, using key social media data sources including Twitter and Facebook to collect posts and a wide range of media articles.

Hybrid digital methods for detecting and managing problematic automated agents in social media

Operationalising new data partnerships and implementing data analysis to improve non-profit and humanitarian sector work.

Transparent Machines: From Unpacking Bias to Actionable Explainability

Unpacking the biases in models that may come from the underlying data, or biases in software that could be designed with a specific purpose and angle from the developers’ point-of-view

Quantifying and Measuring Bias and Engagement

Recent developments in machine learning and information access communities attempt to define fairness-aware metrics to incorporate into these frameworks. This project will address a number of research questions related to quantifying and measuring bias and engagement that remain unexplored.

Governing ADM Use

Examining the challenges to, and opportunities for, liberal and democratic institutions and governance presented by ADM.

Democratic Practices of Governance Given ADM

Developing a theoretically rich analysis of democracy and freedom given ADM.

The Coronavirus Impact

Considering ethical approaches in the area of automated decision-making (ADM) and civic life with a focus on civic commitments and concerns.

Data mapping and ADM to advance humanitarian action and preparedness

Operationalising new data partnerships and implementing data analysis to improve non-profit and humanitarian sector work.

Everyday Data Cultures

Exploring the role of everyday data practices and literacies in automated decision-making.

Mapping ADM Across Sectors

Examining common themes with respect to the issues raised by the collection, storage, and use of data for ADM across object domains.

Mapping the Digital Gap

Measuring digital inclusion and media use in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Diverse Experiences of ADM: Design, Curation and Use

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

Data Ethics, Rights, and Markets

Considering ethical approaches in the area of automated decision-making (ADM) and civic life with a focus on civic commitments and concerns.

Dark Ads Transparency Project

Providing strategies to address the potential harms posed by ‘dark ads’ and provide accountability and transparency mechanisms for targeted advertising.

Civic Automated Decision-Making

Considering ethical approaches in the area of automated decision-making (ADM) and civic life with a focus on civic commitments and concerns.

Considerate and Accurate Multi-party Recommender Systems for Constrained Resources

This project will create a next generation recommender system that enables equitable allocation of constrained resources.

Infrastructures, ADM and sovereign capability

This project examines the relationship between telecommunications infrastructure and automated decision-making (ADM) as new infrastructures, such as 5G and Wi-Fi 6, support the intensification of ADM.

The Automated Newsroom in Australia and beyond: Problems and challenges in the use of automated decision-making systems in journalistic practice

This project investigates current developments in journalistic practice by conducting in-depth interviews with news workers, including journalists, social media editors, developers, programmers, computer scientists, graphic designers and social media marketing staff.

Decentering ADM: A Review of Automated Decision-Making in the Global South

This project is a review of the current state of ADM implementation, practices and visions in different regions in the Global South.

Assessing the Personalisation of Search Results from Major Recommendation Engines

This research aims to assess the extent to which search results are personalised, by various leading search engines and their algorithms, based on the profiles established by those search engines for their different users.