Australia Institute Launches New Responsible Tech Initiative

The Australia Institute today launched the Centre for Responsible Technology, a new non-partisan centre designed to give people greater influence over the way technology is rapidly changing our world.

The Centre for Responsible Technology will collaborate with academics, activists, civil society and business to shape policy and practice around network technology by raising public awareness about the broader impacts and implications of data-driven change and advocating policies that promote the broader common good.

The Centre will initially focus on four broad policy areas:

  • Supporting parents to raise healthy digital kids
  • Establishing responsible data frameworks for organisations
  • Better understanding the impact of AI on Australian jobs
  • Rebuilding the public square

The new Centre for Responsible Technology will be led by Essential Media director Peter Lewis, who will develop and oversee the program of research and engagement while continuing with his existing work as one of Australia’s leading social researchers and political campaign strategists.

“It’s become increasingly clear to me that we are facing a crisis in the unconstrained and unregulated march of digital disruption, all driven by the assumption that technological change is self-evidently good and all consequences are merely the cost of progress,” Mr Lewis said.

“There is some incredible work being done to think though these problems in academia, within government and parts of business and civil society. 

“But until now there hasn’t been a central point to share these ideas, have debates and harness change, free of the commercial interests of those benefiting from even more disruption.

“That’s the gap the centre for Responsible Technology aims to fill.”

The Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist said the initiative was timely and would ensure the Institute was at the forefront of critical public policy discussions.

“Put simply, network technology has stopped working for ordinary people and urgent action is needed: to protect our children, to protect our privacy, to protect our industries and to protect our democracy,” Mr Oquist said.

“There is a growing awareness globally that unregulated technological development is not delivering on its promise to transform the world for the better.

“Whether it is teenage game addiction, wholesale harvesting of personal information, worker surveillance or the compromising of elections there is an urgent need for developing both guard rails and red lines in the way technology advances.”

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