A2I2 Present on Ethics in AI at Melbourne Knowledge Week Festival

News / Anthony Vouliotis / April 30, 2021
A2I2’s Dr Leonard Hoon spoke in front of a packed house on a variety of scenarios that we are likely to face in the near-future

The Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2) has helped deliver a public discussion on ethics in AI at the 2021 Melbourne Knowledge Week. The event, titled More Human Than Human, was the first in the annual festival’s program to sell out. 

A panel of speakers brought together minds from a range of backgrounds in Artificial Intelligence (AI), indigenous studies, bioethics, feminist science and technology research, and science fiction. The panel was joined by A2I2’s Dr Leonard Hoon, Chief Investigator in the ARC Research Hub for Digital Enhanced Living and expert in health technologies and AI ethics. He enlightened an eager audience on the topic of ethics in AI through participatory discussion.  

“The Melbourne Knowledge Week is a national-level festival that A2I2 is very proud to be a part of. It brings together people to share and contribute knowledge on issues that we are likely to face in the near future,” Dr Hoon said. 

The event took place on Thursday 29 April and was supported by the Deakin Science and Society Network (SSN). SSN seeks to bridge interdisciplinary gaps throughout Deakin’s various institutions with the goal of applying science in the pursuit of solutions to the great societal challenges of this century. The network brings together perspectives from a diverse range of backgrounds to facilitate the translation of research into practical solutions. 

Throughout the evening, the panel discussed near-future scenarios that explored the ethics surrounding AI through different perspectives incorporating audience participation via a “choose your own adventure” style experience. 

Audience members contributed to the development of various hypothetical scenarios that allowed for the examination of potential consequences and ethical challenges. Dr Hoon advocated for consumers to weigh the benefits of AI against the privacy considerations of handing over personal data.

“Ethics in AI needs to be sensitive to the context and culture of when and where it is applied. We must go deeper than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. For example, one might be comfortable turning on their location data for a navigation or weather app, but feel uncomfortable having a smart speaker in their home listening to everything they say.” 

The Melbourne Knowledge Week returned this year after being postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. The festival, supported by the Melbourne City Council, seeks to bring Melburnians together to spawn new ways of thinking about our city’s potential for innovation.  The program encompasses a broad range of in-person and digital offerings throughout the week that includes events, workshops and performances. 

Congratulations to all panel members involved:

  • Dr Evie Kendal
  • Dr Helen Young
  • Dr Leonard Hoon
  • Prof. Sean Redmond
  • Dr Thao Phan
  • Dr Tyson Yunkaporta

To learn more about SSN, please visit: https://scienceandsocietynetwork.deakin.edu.au