Indigenous Data in the Age of Big Data, Open Data and Artificial Intelligence

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The Lab
Level 2 of the Digital Studio
West Wing of Arts West
(access via the rear lift)


Unfortunately this seminar has been cancelled. We are looking into opportunities to reschedule this event for a later date. To keep updated about Digital Studio events join our news and events email newsletter.

Part of the Indigenous Australia and Digital Futures seminars series

Professor Maggie Walter
University of Tasmania

There has been a revolution in how data are conceived and utilised. The inception of technologies that enable Big Data, the impetus for Open Data and the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into social programs are now a pervasive feature of the Indigenous data landscape. These technologies are an increasing feature of societal functioning and part of the everyday lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Sector reports from Australia and elsewhere have highlighted the potential benefits of this data revolution, but the marginalised social, cultural and political location of Indigenous peoples suggest we will not share equally in these.

The considerable risks embedded in the ubiquity of these technologies are also unevenly distributed, and there are significant challenges for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples relating to bias, stigma and accountabilities. This seminar will discuss the potential unforeseen (and likely unseen) consequences of open data, big data and rising use of AI as well as how Indigenous data sovereignty, as an emerging site of science and activism, can mediate the risks while providing pathways to collective benefits.

Professor Maggie Walter is a sociologist whose research is focused on race relations, inequality, research methods and methodologies. She is the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor of Aboriginal Research and Leadership at the University of Tasmania. Professor Walter is passionate about improving the position of Aboriginal people in Australian society and changing the dynamics around race relations. Professor Walter is widely published in her fields of research. She is the editor and co-author of the best-selling Social Research Methods and co-author of Inequality in Australia: Discourses, Realities and Directions and Indigenous Statistics: a quantitative methodology.

Professor Walter has a long pre-academic career in the public service, working in the Department of Social Security and other Federal Government Departments from 1980 until 1999. During this time she obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Social Welfare) from Charles Sturt University in 1994, a Bachelor of Social Work ( 1st Class Honours) from the University of Tasmania in 1998. Professor Walter was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (Sociology) from the University of Tasmania in 2003 and joined the University of Tasmania as an academic in 2002, first in Aboriginal Studies, and then in 2004 moved to the School of Social Sciences.

Image: monaliza0024, source: ShutterShock