Event: Data Science in the News: Lessons from Robodebt

In QUT Centre for Data Science “Data Science in the News” webinar,  lessons learned from Robodebt were explored.  QUT Centre for Justice Director, Professor Melissa Bull, provided insights into this multi-disciplinary discussion.

Have you wondered:

  • What is the Robodebt enquiry about, and what was the economic/government motivation behind developing an automated method in the first place?
  • The automated method, how it worked and why it failed at a technical level?
  • Are there some examples of successful ML/AI that have benefited our community?
  • The failure of this ML/AI tool has had a devastating impact on so many people. As professionals involved in data science, what do we need to do differently when developing these tools?

Our expert panel answered these questions in a discussion moderated by Centre Director Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen.

Listen to the discussion here.

The panel included:

Professor Adam Clements is a member of the School of Economics and Finance at QUT, and a Research Domain leader in the QUT Centre for Data Science. His main research interests relate to financial and time series econometrics often focusing on issues around financial risk. Adam’s current industry projects include financial risk in agricultural production processes and predictive analytics for heavy equipment servicing. Adam has research collaborations with other researchers at both QUT, other Australian Universities, and internationally in Spain, Singapore and Latin America.

Dr Richi Nayak is a Professor at the School of Computer Science, Faculty of Science, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia. She is an internationally recognized expert in machine learning, data mining and text mining. She consults several private, public and government agencies in machine learning projects and many of her research projects have been commercialised.

Patrik Wikstrom is Professor of Communication, Director of QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre and Associate Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision Making and Society. His research is focused on how AI generated recommendations shape the everyday life of citizens, consumers and creators. He has written extensively about sound culture and his latest book is on the short video platform TikTok.

Professor Melissa BullPhD BA(Hons), has expertise in the fields of governance and regulation with a focus on networked policing. This work has addressed case studies in the areas of drug regulation, immigration, policing culturally and linguistically diverse communities and policing gender violence in Pacific Island Countries. She has partnered with government – for example, Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works, Queensland Department of Premier and Cabinet, Queensland Health, Queensland Police Service, Victoria Police, Yunnan Police College (China) and Bangladesh Ministry of Women and Children Affairs – and Non-Government agencies – like the Australian Multicultural Foundation and the Australian Human Rights Commission – to deliver theoretically informed applied research that is policy relevant.

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