Automated Worlds

Program Co-Convenors: Professor Brett Neilson and Dr Adam Sargent

Automated_WorldsNo world is fully automated. From the jacquard loom to machine learning, automated technologies have emerged in complex interaction with social domains and physical environments. The Automated Worlds research program advances critical inquiry into the conditions and limits of this enmeshment of the material and the digital. Our research develops empirically informed concepts that explain how automation transforms and responds to economy and society. Focusing on the labour-shifting and decision-making capacities of intelligent technologies, the program probes the entanglement of social institutions and material infrastructures that results from increasing algorithmic governance. This analytical approach engages the operational logics of computational processes to register how algorithms shape conduct and knowledge by extracting correlations from data relations. Such work necessarily involves liaison with computer science, mathematics, engineering and design, among other disciplines, in addition to industry experts. We experiment with digital methods to generate questions, concepts and research practices that critically interrogate the nexus of technology and power.

The Automated Worlds program also investigates the cultural and geopolitical stakes of automation implied by strategic competition in the development of experimental sites, standards and patents as well as shifting territorial formations. Program researchers collaborate with partners from all sectors, including not for profit organisations, academic institutions and technology companies.

Current major projects include: a transcontintental investigation of the geopolitics of automation, the relationship between disability and AI, the Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision Making & Society, examination of political issues concerning the shaping of knowledge, perception and organisational cultures by automated technologies and data economies, the design of computational systems in industrial settings and the negotiation automated learning by young people.