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The ethics of data science conference

Addressing the future use and misuse of our data
27–29 March 2019

From self-driving cars to automated personal assistants, artificial intelligence is well on its way to impacting every facet of our daily lives. Already, industries and governments are relying on machine learning to make important decisions that will have a real effect on the lives of consumers and citizens.

This raises an important question: how can we make algorithms more ethical than humans?

Hosted by the University of Sydney from 27-29 March 2019, this forum will bring together world-renowned experts to address the current crisis in confidence around algorithms.

Algorithms are a fundamental tool in everyday machine learning and artificial intelligence, but experts have identified a number of ethical problems, including biased modelling and inaccurate data. Our speakers – who span diverse disciplines such as ethics, law, and artificial intelligence – will:

  • review current research and practice relating to the ethics around algorithms
  • identify solutions for creating a new generation of ethical data science techniques.

This symposium will review current research and practice relating to ethical aspects of algorithms, assess limitations, and identify the work required to pave the way for a new generation of ethical data science techniques. This symposium is an exciting opportunity to exchange views on the viability, legitimacy, and complexity of algorithmic decision-making.

Topics covered include:

  • biased data
  • accountability, consequences and costs of automated decisions
  • personal data usage in political campaigns and election forecasting
  • Morally based decision-making under uncertainty
  • privacy and cybersecurity
  • automation and economic consequences
  • artificial intelligence and human rights


The Symposium will run between 27 and 29 March 2019. Ticket prices are as follows: 


Keynote speakers

Nicolas Hohn

Nicolas Hohn

Chief Data Scientist at QuantumBlack Australia

Nicolas is an Associate Partner at McKinsey, and Chief Data Scientist for QuantumBlack Australia. He advises organisations on starting or progressing along their analytics journeys. 



Dr Julia Powles

Associate Professor Julia Powles

Associate Professor of Technology Law & Policy, UWA

Julia joined UWA in January 2019, after more than a decade in Europe and the US. Her research focuses on civic and rights-based responses to emerging technologies. She is an expert in privacy, intellectual property, internet governance, and the law and politics of data, automation, and artificial intelligence. 

Professor Simon Jackman

Professor Simon Jackman

CEO of the United States Studies Centre

Simon's teaching and research centres on public opinion, election campaigns, political participation, and electoral systems. He is known for his work on poll averaging and predicting election outcomes. 



Professor Toby Walsh

Professor Toby Walsh

Scientia Professor of artificial intelligence at UNSW

Toby is a leading researcher in Artificial Intelligence. He leads the Algorithmic Decision Theory group at Data61, Australia's Centre of Excellence for ICT Research, and is guest professor at TU Berlin. 

Associate Professor Seth Lazar

Associate Professor Seth Lazar

Head, School of Philosophy. Project Lead, Humanising Machine Intelligence Grand Challenge, ANU

Seth is Associate Professor of Philosophy at ANU, head of the school of philosophy there, and project lead of the Humanising Machine Intelligence Grand challenge ( 

Workshop facilitators

Ed Santow

Ed Santow

Human Rights Commissioner

Edward Santow has been Human Rights Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission since August 2016. He is currently leading the Commission’s work on detention and implementing the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT); refugees and migration; human rights issues affecting LGBTI people; counter-terrorism and national security; technology and human rights; freedom of expression; and freedom of religion.

Alan Kirkland

Alan Kirkland


Alan is CEO of CHOICE, Australia's national consumer organisation. He has a background in public policy, social movements and the justice system.

Conference location

F23 Building Auditorium

Corner of Eastern Avenue and City Road
The University of Sydney
Camperdown 2050

The closest train station to the conference is Central Station. From Central Station you can catch buses 428, 426, 423 and M30 to City Road before Butlin Avenue. For more information, please visit Transport NSW

A total of 10 travel support scholarships of US$1000 each will be provided to higher degree research students and early-career researchers who provide the best accepted papers according to the selection committee. 

  • Workshop 1: Law and justice
  • Workshop 2: Banking, finance, insurance and consumers. Alan Kirkland, Chief Executive Office, Choice
  • Workshop 3: Human rights (moderated by Edward Santow, Australian Human Rights Commissioner)
  • Workshop 4: Health, genomics and family care. Stephen Bolinger, Chief Privacy Officer, Cochlear. Warren Kaplan, Chief of Informatics, Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Warren Kaplan is the Garvan Institute’s Chief of Informatics. He founded and leads Garvan’s Data Intensive Computer Engineering (DICE) group, that designed and built Garvan’s High Performance Computing, Cloud and Big Data infrastructure.  
  • Workshop 5: Autonomous systems, robotics and computer vision, A/Professor, Ian Manchester, Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems 
  • Mann Monique, Foth Marcus, Mitchel Peta, Suzor Nicolas and Pappalardo Kylie, Ethical algorithms “by design”.
  • Dao Andre, Algorithmic judges and human dignity a dignitarian approach to algorithmic discrimination.
  • Hutchinson Ben, Pittl KJ and Mitchell Margaret, Interpreting Social Respect: A Normative Lens for ML Models
  • McNamara Daniel, Algorithmic Stereotypes: Implications for Fairness of Generalising from Past Data
  • Zerilli John, Algorithmic decision-making and the control problem
  • Henrichsen Jesper, Klafke Beck Lucas, Rossi Luca, Machine learning might be the answer: but can we ask the proper question?
  • Krupiy Tanya, Searching for a better present: a proposal for embedding fairness into artificial intelligence models
  • Tuffley David, Ethical algorithms in the Age of the Centaur
  • Ostmann Florian, Fairness in the context of algorithmic decision-making: Towards a map of ethical concerns
  • Terzis Petros, The reasonable coder
  • Leonard Peter, Making Heuristics Real Practical Processes and Tools for Building-in Accountability by Design
  • Ho Xuan-Vinh, Layered Explanations: Interpreting Neural Networks with Numerical Influence Measures
  • McCay Allan, The value of consciousness and free will in a technological dystopia 
  • Zalnieriute Monika, Bennett Moses Lyria, Williams George, The Rule of Law and Automation of Government Decision-Making
  • N Silva Victor, Are Algorithms Affecting the Democracy in Brazil?
  • Australian National University
  • Data61
  • Duke Kunshan University
  • Google
  • Griffith University
  • Harvard University
  • IT University of Copenhagen
  • National University of Singapore
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Tilburg University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Otago
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Winchester



View the draft program

Download PDF


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