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People and Information in the Digital World

What we do:

As our world becomes increasingly digital, interactions with information and each other change shape and can become more complex. The Knowledge Discovery and Management group researches and develops tools and techniques to extract, distil and disseminate actionable insights from the vast amount of digital information that surrounds us. Its goal is to help individuals and society make good evidence-based decisions and ensure that the benefits are shared widely. Our research directly addresses the Data61’s science vision of: “Trust in data technology enabled socio-technical systems – trust that these systems will benefit you and that any harms are manifest and controlled; Shaping Societal Transformations”. Achieving this vision requires more than technology – we must also understand and develop the social, economic and institutional context in which we operate for our data-driven future to be both economically efficient and socially equitable. This necessitates a multi-disciplinary approach, which the group is well-placed to deliver, with deep expertise and experience in behavioural, cognitive, economic, social, data sciences, including computational linguistics and computational social sciences.

Our domains:

Our group’s interdisciplinary work supports a range of application areas and domains, with current work in building an agile and resilient workforce, business intelligence, and health and resource allocation highlighted below. Our diverse areas of expertise – natural language processing, network analysis, sociotechnical economics, and human factors – allow us to look at the changing world with different lenses and respond with insights and innovative solutions. Working within the same group, we can more easily bring our perspectives together and share the vision of a connected and equitable digital society.

Agile and Resilient Workforce
The impacts of developments in digital technology have been building slowly over time, bringing increasing disruption to global labour markets. Where previously the impacts of automation were felt in low-skilled and less well paid jobs, artificial intelligence now encompasses tasks being performed in well-paid and skilled jobs. New roles are already emerging in response to challenges and opportunities created by new forms of digital technology. However, workers’ agility and resilience – their ability to upskill, reskill and transition to new roles – will be crucial to ensure that Australian businesses and workers benefit from the opportunities created by these new technologies.

Business Intelligence
For efficient operation business or corporate entities in general (including governments) need to make best use of the information they hold in their organisation and information outside their organisation that affects the business. We mine textual information from enterprise documents, social media and other sources to support businesses, assess social licence to operate. We also look at formal information flows in business and try and understand the socio-technical challenges businesses face.

Health
We use our expertise in human factors, psychometrics, machine learning, information retrieval, temporal statistical analysis, and codifying natural language to draw insights from a variety of data sources used to identify disease outbreaks (e.g. from social media), adverse side effects, suicidal ideation, or the best treatment for a specific patient.

Resource Allocation
How do we design algorithms to support decision makers to use of this information to equitably allocate scarce resources? And how do we design economic and social systems (e.g., markets, data sharing platforms) that encourage people to efficiently and effectively reveal truthful information in a safe and equitable way? The group integrates economic and behavioural sciences to develop mechanisms which provide the assurances and incentives for people to reveal salient information.