Tech and the public sector: Reality check

Date & time

5.30–6.30pm Tuesday 21 August 2018


Canberry Room

JG Crawford Building, 132 Lennox Crossing, The Australian National University


Dr Julia Powles, New York University School of Law
Mr Will Bateman, ANU College of Law


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.


Nicole Harman
In conversation
Julia Powles and Will Bateman

Artificial intelligence and automation have been spruiked as critical parts of public sector reform. Public health bodies, social security departments and tax agencies have jumped at the opportunity to adopt automated and datadriven systems as replacements for human administrators. The planning and functioning of cities, law enforcement and judicial decision-making have also been targeted as ripe for reform using AI.

Behind the hype, a complex picture emerges, involving issues of privatisation, privacy, accountability and technological capability that are overlooked  or concealed in the push to automate government. It’s time for public sector tech to get a reality check.


  • Julia Powles »

    Dr Julia Powles is a research fellow in technology law and policy at New York University School of Law. Her current projects focus on privacy, intellectual property, and competition in relation to data-driven technologies. She is widely published in academic and popular outlets, with bylines in the Financial TimesGuardian, New Yorker, Slate, and Wired. Powles was formerly a postdoctoral fellow in law and computer science at the University of Cambridge. She holds a PhD in law from the University of Cambridge, a BCL from the University of Oxford, a LLB (Hons) from the University of Western Australia, and a BSc (Hons) from the ANU.

  • Will Bateman »

    Will Bateman is a senior lecturer at the ANU College of Law. He previously worked for the Hon Justice Stephen Gageler AC of the High Court of Australia and Herbert Smith Freehills (specialising in government litigation). He has published widely on public law and graduated LLM(Hons) from the University of Cambridge and BA/LLB(Hons) from the ANU.

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