Institute part of ANU's 10-year tech plan


Tuesday, 05 September, 2017


Institute part of ANU's 10-year tech plan

A world-leading technologist will head a new institute as part of ANU’s 10-year plan to boost its engineering and computer science program

Professor Genevieve Bell (pictured) recently joined ANU from Intel as the first of five appointments under the ANU Vice-Chancellor’s Entrepreneurial Fellows scheme.

She has also been appointed the inaugural Florence Violet McKenzie Chair at ANU, named in honour of Australia’s first female electrical engineer.

Professor Bell will lead a new Autonomy, Agency and Assurance Institute, to be known as the 3A Institute, co-founded with CSIRO’s Data61.

The 3A Institute will bring together researchers from around the world and within a range of disciplines to tackle complex problems in artificial intelligence, data and technology, and managing their effect on humanity.

Professor Bell said there was a critical set of questions to be answered around autonomy, agency and assurance if the world is to meet the challenges of future technology.

“We, as humans, are simultaneously terrified, optimistic and ultimately ambivalent about what it’s going to be like,” she said.

“How are we going to feel in a world where autonomous agents are doing things and we aren’t? How are we going to be safe in this world?

“We will be looking closely at risk, indemnity, privacy, trust — things that fall under this broad term ‘assurance’.”

Data61 CEO Adrian Turner said the 3A Institute would build on Australia’s strengths in cyber systems.

“Australia has an opportunity to be a leader and to seed new industries of global relevance as IT, biological and advanced materials disciplines converge and become data-driven,” he said.

“Building on our national strengths in cyber-physical systems, interdisciplinary research is needed now more than ever to understand how we can integrate resulting new technologies into our lives for economic and societal benefit.

“The 3A Institute will be an important way for us to achieve this and move the nation forward. Data61 is delighted to be contributing talent and resources towards this collaboration as Founding Partner.”

Image courtesy ANU

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