Ms Fiona McLeod SC, eminent barrister and human rights advocate, will deliver this year’s Solomon Lecture, titled Accountability in the Age of the Artificial on Wednesday 28 August in Brisbane, as part of the Office of the Information Commissioner’s 10thanniversary celebrations.
The lecture will focus on transparency, openness and accountability in the context of increasing adoption of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) in government functions and decision-making. Ms McLeod’s Lecture will address key questions about whether artificial intelligence and human rights can co-exist.
Queensland Information Commissioner Rachael Rangihaeata said, “AI offers great opportunities to provide better outcomes for the community, however there are critical issues and risks to consider and address to get the right balance.
“The advancements and adoption of AI are constantly evolving, so it is timely to have Ms McLeod lead this important discussion, especially in light of ongoing discussion about appropriate governance and regulation, including two recently published reports by the Australian Council of Learned Academies and Standards Australia*, which focused on the importance of responsible implementation of AI.
“These reports and our 2019 Solomon Lecture are vital pieces of the puzzle aimed at moving the conversation about accountability, human rights, big data and AI forward. The discussion allows us to look at the good and the bad of AI and pinpoint where we need to focus in this critical time, so we can shape the way of the future, use AI responsibly and unlock its true benefits.
“Given the recent enactment of the Human Rights Act 2019, this is particularly topical for Queensland,” Ms Rangihaeata said.
The event’s Master of Ceremonies will be well known journalist and media personality, Ms Madonna King. Ms King will lead a panel discussion involving Mr Scott McDougall, Queensland Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Brent Richards, Medical Director of Innovation, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, Mr Simon McKee, Deputy Commissioner, Queensland Treasury and Information Commissioner Rangihaeata.
Ms McLeod is the Chair of the Accountability Round Table, a former Co-Chair of the Open Government Forum and Chair of Transparency International. She is a Past President of the Law Council of Australia and the Australian Bar Association. Ms McLeod has been recognised with numerous awards for excellence and leadership, for her work in supporting diversity and equality, the advancement of women and her work in pro bono and human rights matters including human trafficking. In 2018, she was awarded Australian Woman Lawyer of the Year.
The Solomon Lecture is free to attend:
Thursday, 28 August 2019 from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm (AEST)
The Edge, State Library of Queensland
Brisbane City, QLD 4101
Register to attend: https://solomonlecture2019.eventbrite.com.au/
The lecture will also be livestreamed at https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/discover/live-stream
About the Lecture - Accountability in the Age of the Artificial
Our aspiration for open and accountable government faces innumerable challenges, not least the natural reluctance of all governments to expose themselves to criticism and accept responsibility for failure.
Time and again, corporate and political goals take priority over just outcomes, and the human rights of individuals and communities are undervalued and ignored.
Numerous examples of bad behaviour shock us for a while, some even receiving the focused attention of high quality investigative journalism and Royal Commissions, but we are left unsatisfied, cynical and disengaged, more jaded than before, accepting the inevitability of existential threats, the comfort of algorithmic news feeds and vague promises to ‘drain the swamp’.
In this context, are big data and artificial intelligence the enemies of the people, the ultimate tools of the oligarch, or the vital tools needed to eliminate bias, improve scrutiny and just outcomes for the visionary? Is there a future in which humanity evolves alongside an enhanced hive-mind in time to avert global catastrophe and create a new vision for humanity?
* The Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) report ‘The effective and ethical development of artificial intelligence: an opportunity to improve our wellbeing’ (30 July 2019) can be found at: https://acola.org/hs4-artificial-intelligence-australia/
The Standards Australia discussion paper ‘Developing standards for artificial intelligence: hearing Australia’s voice’ (June 2019) can be found at: https://www.standards.org.au/news/strengthening-trust-colon-hearing-australia%E2%80%99s-voice-on-artificial-intelligence