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Thought Leadership

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Ethical AI and government: how guiding machine learning projects with principles will help prevent tech solutions turning into unintended problems

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Artificial intelligence is already being used in unethical ways, both by the world's governments and technology giants. Now is the time to nail down the principles governing AI and machine learning projects. This multipart series begins with a Department of Defence workshop where warfighters, lawyers and philosophers pitched 84 principles for assuring that AIs operating on our behalf remain ethical.

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What’s wrong with best practice? How the quest for certainty affects the agility and innovation needed for organisations to thrive

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We see all around us the evidence that science works. For many years there has been an effort to apply scientific thinking to management. In organisations, managers attempt to define and spread ‘best practice,’ which seems to offer certainty about the correct procedures to follow. Daniel Thornton considers why using terms such as ‘best practice’ is bad practice, and suggests an alternative approach that could help to navigate the complexities of organisational life.

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The APS needs to radically and quickly overhaul what 'service delivery' means to them. That should start with genuinely listening to their front-line people

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Much of the APS needs to lose the attitude that policy is the apex of public administration and service delivery is done by lesser mortals, says Verona Burgess. With change and uncertainty all around the federal bureaucracy, to fulfil the Prime Minister's expectations it will need to quickly learn from state counterparts.

There’s no room for positive spin in the Australian homelessness issue. What’s needed is evidenced-based initiative and action

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As problems associated with Australia's homelessness crisis exist across the housing spectrum, so too must the solutions. Moving forward, there is an opportunity for the Morrison government to put create a positive spin on the housing and homelessness situation in Australia. And that is through implementing evidence-based solutions across the housing spectrum.

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AI was supposed to help this city recruit staff for local kindergartens. Denied transparency, parents compared results to understand the automated decisionmaking

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Krzysztof Izdebski, Policy Director at Poland's ePanstwo Foundation, says citizens and decisionmaking officials are deprived when only companies creating tools for public institutions have the full knowledge of the algorithms’ functions. A lack of policies around automated decisionmaking can undermine trust to both public authorities and services they provide to the public.

The role of the Census in improving local area population estimates

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Imagine how difficult it would be for local government decisionmakers if they were unable to obtain accurate estimates of their local area populations. Lateral Economics' Gene Tunny, Matt Balmford and Nicholas Gruen take on the major challenge of finding a robust and defensible methodology for calculating the benefits to the Australian people from having more accurate estimated resident population estimates as a result of Census data.