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Automated Decision-Making and Society

Addressing the legal challenge of decisions made by machines

Our cross-disciplinary research is paving the way for responsible, ethical, and inclusive automated decision-making. We are addressing challenging legal issues raised by artificial intelligence to improve the governance framework that safeguards human rights and autonomy.

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) is a collaborative, multi-discipline national research centre that brings together universities, industry, government and the community to support the development of responsible, ethical and inclusive automated decision-making.

ADM+S is hosted at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia, with nodes located at 8 other Australian universities, including the University of Sydney Law School. The Centre also has partners around the world, working across law, data analytics, media and communications, sociology and anthropology and more. 

It seeks to ensure that automated decision-making – based on artificial intelligence, machine learning or any other systems – can improve human decision-making, while respecting human rights and other legal and democratic principles.

What is ADM and why regulate?

Automated decision-making (ADM) comprises an expanding array of intelligent technologies such as deep learning and blockchains. It was developed to solve challenging problems across sectors to make essential services more personal and help to broaden choices and control for citizens and communities. 

However, its widespread uptake has posed serious new risks to human rights and welfare, resulting from its misuse and malfunction. 

Potential harms include:

  • data discrimination against disadvantaged communities 
  • spread of disinformation for political and commercial ends 
  • increasing inequality
  • lower productivity 
  • diminished economic security.
  • Generate an integrated understanding of ADM
  • Formulate world-leading policy and practice in responsible, ethical and inclusive ADM, for governments, industry and the non-profit sectors
  • Enhance public understanding and inform public debate on ADM 
  • Educate and train researchers and practitioners in this challenging new field

The Sydney Law School is home to one of the nodes of the ADM+S Centre. 

We focus on researching: 

  • how automated decision-making is shaping and changing both public and private institutions in relation to their use of algorithms, and  
  • how law, regulation and governance can help bring about better automated decision-making. 

Our aim is to understand how this environment is governed in both public and private institutions and generate new insights that can improve that governance framework to better protect human rights and autonomy, democratic values, social inclusion, and the sustainable use of resources in ADM. 

Together with the Sydney Innovation Programme and the work of many of our scholars, the Law School is positioning itself at the frontlines of interdisciplinary work on technology issues, opening an array of opportunities to academics and students alike to make a real-world impact in the impending legal landscape.  

The University of Sydney node is working closely with the Gradient Institute and the team are in discussion with other faculties of the University to expand the scope of this interdisciplinary work. 

The Sydney node contributes to the collective efforts of the Centre’s overall vision, joining the almost one hundred researchers across 8 Australian Universities, and its long list of partners inside and outside the country.  

Chief Investigator and Node Leader

Associate investigators

Research fellow

Node administrator

HDR candidates

  • Melanie Trezise 
  • Libby Young 

Chief Investigator

Profile head shot of Professor Kimberlee Weatherall
Professor Kimberlee Weatherall - @kim_weatherall
View Professor Kimberlee Weatherall's academic profile