Autonomy, Diversity & Disability: Everyday Practices of Technology (ADDEPT)

Artificial Intelligence is now everywhere. Smart phones hear and respond to our voices. They capture images and tell us what they see. They recognise faces in a crowd, and produce meaningful answers to questions.

Yet these powerful effects depend on the ways Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems are trained. Data that fails to represent the diversity of human societies can lead to damaging bias in how these systems operate.

Run at Western Sydney University, the ADDEPT project looks to understand how diverse communities use technology in their everyday life. It examines how and when bias and other technology issues impede, frustrate or disadvantage two distinct groups: people with disability, and people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

We're not only interested in technology's pitfalls. Many people from these communities benefit from technological advances. They also find ways to adapt and workaround technological limits, in ways that are often individual and creative, and not always documented.

Greater evidence of these practices can help address bias and advance a more inclusive technological environment:

  • Communities can use this evidence to advocate, and to share their own innovations in how technology is applied.
  • Researchers and companies can improve on the ways AI and other technologies are designed and developed.
  • Service organisations can prepare guides and workarounds to help overcome technology gaps.
  • Governments can set policies that demand greater recognition and inclusion of social groups often marginalised and excluded from technology user groups and training data.

Many people, groups and organisations are looking to study and address these issues. The ADDEPT project brings a specific focus to groups in the South West and North East suburbs of Sydney – areas with large migrant populations, increasingly reliant upon AI and other advanced technology in their daily lives.

Researchers: 

Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Linkage Project

Partners: Your Side Australia (opens in a new window); Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (opens in a new window); Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre (opens in a new window); Gallery Lane Cove + Creative Studios (opens in a new window); Microsoft Corporation (opens in a new window)

Period: 2020-2024

Project website: https://addept-project.org/ (opens in a new window)

Contact: Dr Kim Spurway, K.Spurway@westernsydney.edu.au