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Tech and the public sector: Reality check

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JG Crawford Building

Canberry Room

132 Lennox Crossing

Acton, ACT 2601

Australia

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Artificial intelligence and automation have been spruiked as critical parts of public sector reform. Public health bodies, social security departments and tax agencies have jumped at the opportunity to adopt automated and data-driven systems as replacements for human administrators. The planning and functioning of cities, law enforcement and judicial decision-making have also been targeted as ripe for reform using AI.

Behind the hype, a complex picture emerges, involving issues of privatisation, privacy, accountability and technological capability that are overlooked or concealed in the push to automate government. It’s time for public sector tech to get a reality check.

Dr Julia Powles is a research fellow in technology law and policy at New York University School of Law. Her current projects focus on privacy, intellectual property, and competition in relation to data-driven technologies. She is widely published in academic and popular outlets, with bylines in the Financial Times, Guardian, New Yorker, Slate, and Wired. Powles was formerly a postdoctoral fellow in law and computer science at the University of Cambridge. She holds a PhD in law from the University of Cambridge, a BCL from the University of Oxford, a LLB (Hons) from the University of Western Australia, and a BSc (Hons) from the ANU.

Will Bateman is a senior lecturer at the ANU College of Law. He previously worked for the Hon Justice Stephen Gageler AC of the High Court of Australia and Herbert Smith Freehills (specialising in government litigation). He has published widely on public law and graduated LLM(Hons) from the University of Cambridge and BA/LLB(Hons) from the ANU.

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JG Crawford Building

Canberry Room

132 Lennox Crossing

Acton, ACT 2601

Australia

View Map

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