Technology x Society Forum: Public Interest Technology

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Presented by La Trobe University and Swinburne's Social Innovation Research Institute.

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Tuesday 15 June 2021 12:00 pm until Tuesday 15 June 2021 01:30 pm (Add to calendar)
Swinburne University
Presented by:
La Trobe University and Swinburne's Social Innovation Research Institute
Type of Event:

Please join us for the first in a series of the Technology x Society Forums.

The impact of technology on our society is one of the defining challenges and opportunities of our time. In this context, it is critical to consider how technology and innovation affects not just our industrial systems, but entire political, social, and economic systems.

Public interest technologies put people and society at the centre of our technological choices and strive to ensure that the benefits of technology are widely shared. However, there is limited understanding in Australia of the notion of public interest technology, in part because the use and meaning of the term is contingent on the ongoing and – in the wake of Covid – emerging questions about what constitutes the public interest. Drawing on perspectives from three experts in industry and academia, this forum engages the concept of public interest technology, reveals recent applications of public interest technology, and issues a call to action for cross-sector engagement and collaboration to advance the development and implementation of public interest technology.

Who should attend?

  • HASS and STEM academics and researchers whose work would benefit from increased involvement with one another
  • Industry professionals who want to partner with universities to create public interest technology
  • Civic-minded technologists
  • Digitally fluent leaders, public officials, entrepreneurs and change agents

About the Technology x Society Forum

The Technology x Society Forum provides a space for engagement between STEM and HASS academics with an interest in the design, development and application of public interest technology. Our aim is to stimulate multi-disciplinary collaborations to address complex social challenges. Forum activities will include a series of curated conversations on key topics, organised by Forum leaders and seeded by the Forum Steering Group. The goal of each forum is to generate opportunities for research, leadership and social innovation by researchers at Swinburne and La Trobe and our partners.

Convened By

Professor Lawrie Zion
Associate Provost, Research and Industry Engagement 
College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce
La Trobe University

Associate Professor Diane Sivasubramaniam
Program Leader, Public Interest Technology
Social Innovation Research Institute
Swinburne University of Technology

Associate Professor Sam Wilson
Program Leader, Public Interest Technology 
Social Innovation Research Institute
Swinburne University of Technology

Guest Speakers

Melinda Cilento
Melinda Cilento is Chief Executive of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA). Melinda is a company director, economist and experienced senior executive. She is a Non-Executive Director of Australian Unity and Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia. Melinda is also a member of the Parliamentary Budget Office panel of expert advisors. Melinda was previously a Non-Executive Director with Woodside Petroleum, Commissioner with the Productivity Commission and Deputy CEO and Chief Economist with the Business Council of Australia. Melinda has also previously held senior roles with the Federal Department of Treasury, Invesco and the International Monetary Fund.

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson is Head of Social Innovation at the Australian Red Cross. Amanda founded the Humanitech 'think+do tank' within Australian Red Cross which harnesses the transformational power of emerging technology for good by putting humanity at its centre. She is a senior and strategic social innovation specialist with a focus on emerging technologies including blockchain, digital identity and AI, to help solve complex social problems and drive humanitarian outcomes at scale. Amanda is a versatile and entrepreneurial digital product and marketing professional with extensive experience in developing and managing online services, in particular online marketplaces, across a number of sectors.

Professor Katina Michael
Katina Michael is a professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. Previously, Katina was associate dean international at the University of Wollongong, where she was employed in the School of Computing and Information Technology. She researches predominantly in the area of emerging technologies and their corresponding social implications. In 2017, she was awarded the Brian M. O’Connell Distinguished Service Award from the Society for the Social Implications of Technology. She is the founding editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society.



24th Jan 2022 9:36pm

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