Northern Institute (CDU) and CSIRO Collaboration on Responsible Innovation

  • Wallace, Ruth (Principal Investigator/Chief Investigator A)
  • Lacey, Justine (Co Investigator/Chief Investigator B)

    Project: Research

    Project Details


    The challenge
    Technologies and digital platforms that incorporate Responsible Artificial Intelligence (R-AI) are increasingly being promoted for use by Indigenous and rural communities in Australia to solve complex environmental management problems, care for animal species and habitats, and coordinate disaster response and recovery requests.
    However, R-AI applications and technology design for remote and regional communities face many challenges, including how to make the best of patchy data, contend with the high cost of mobile data and internet access, the lack of digital infrastructure and low digital literacy, and the privacy concerns related to preferred digital technologies.
    Despite this, little work has been done to consider mechanisms to build and sustain trust, transparency, and benefit-sharing in AI-driven technology development, particularly with Indigenous people.

    What we’re doing
    CSIRO’s Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform (FSP) and Northern Institute established a research collaboration in March 2020. The collaboration will draw on action-based projects that are using Responsible-AI (R-AI) for environmental decision-making and disaster response and recovery.
    Through these collaborative projects, we will examine issues including: 
    •cross-cultural data management, governance, sharing and use:
    •local community assessments of the benefits, risks and uncertainties associated with digital innovation and AI-applications; and
    •the role of Indigenous knowledge in the development of AI and predictive modelling systems and applications, to detect, prioritise and manage socio- cultural and environmental risks on Indigenous estates.

    The learnings from these projects will assist in understanding mechanisms through which remote and regional people including Indigenous peoples trust and use AI and digital platforms, benefit from digital technologies and platforms, and ensure their knowledge practices are enabled through co-design, co-application, and co-evaluation of technologies.
    Collaborating with CDU’s Northern Institute complements CSIRO’s scientific expertise and draws on CIFAS’ deep experience in working in partnerships across sparsely populated regional areas like northern Australia and working with Indigenous knowledge holders to imagine social, cultural and economic futures.
    How it helps
    Through Indigenous-led practical research projects, we will be co-designing AI-driven technologies for environmental and disaster decision-making. Through these projects, we will explore ethical ways to design and apply innovative technologies that can work with Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing, to address the complex environmental management problems facing remote and regional communities in Australia.
    The collaboration will build opportunity, capacity and capability for researchers; since commencement, one Postdoctoral Fellowship has been awarded to Dr Jennifer Macdonald, who is working on Responsible Artificial Intelligence and Innovation. The project is led by Dr Cathy Robinson at CSIRO and Professor Ruth Wallace at Northern Institute, CDU. The collaboration is linked to a cohort of early career researchers (ECRs) in the Responsible Innovation FSP, who are based at CSIRO, the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Australian National University (ANU), as well as a cohort of ECRs at Charles Darwin University.
    For more information, see news releases by both the Charles Darwin University and the CSIRO Responsible Innovation FSP.
    Effective start/end date1/07/191/03/23


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