Public Interest Technology Program


Foundation Partners

Read highlights from the 2020 PIT Forum below
Advancing public interest technology: connecting the best of tech government, academia and business.
CEDA is bringing together technologists, policy makers and business to discuss how to best manage new technologies and foster the collaborative approaches necessary to support solutions to the issues of rapid technological change.

Why now?

The pace of socially and economically important innovation and disruption continues to increase rapidly, while the breadth of new technologies –from AI, biosciences, big data, autonomous vehicles, IOT, to quantum computing – is growing day by day. How we, as a nation, approach the stewardship of new technologies will have a profound impact on Australia’s future economic and social development and therefore prosperity. 
Emerging technologies offer great opportunities, but also present risks and challenges. How do we shape or steward the development, adoption and management of emerging technologies to deliver the greatest public opportunities and benefits and mitigate potential risks and adverse impacts?
Building the right approach to the stewardship of emerging technologies must directly involve policy decision makers, who in turn must have the necessary skills and capabilities, and access to objective, high quality information and expertise.
The right balance needs to be struck through regulatory settings, policy decisions, government spending and investment to support the development, commercialisation and adoption of new technologies, while addressing potentially unintended consequences that can arise from fast-paced technological progress. These processes must reflect an appreciation of the opportunity costs associated with an extremely risk-averse approach to regulation and policy settings that are not in the public interest.
Stewardship of emerging technologies in the public interest must also involve and engage others – technologists, investors, business, academia, and the wider community – not least because experience has shown that regulation after the fact of tech development and commercialisation is a challenging proposition. Community confidence in such stewardship is critical in building broad support for the adoption and use of new technologies and data. 
Quite simply, we all must become more comfortable and confident in working together to understand and steer emerging technologies and the issues that sit around them. Doing this requires cross-sector engagement, collaboration and collective effort to:
  • understand the possibilities presented by emerging technologies;
  • build a shared commitment to advancing technology in the public interest; and
  • create the necessary capabilities, tools, frameworks, forums and institutions. 
CEDA, as an independent, trusted, cross-sectoral membership organisation is uniquely placed to play a key role in driving this stewardship agenda.

Where to start?

CEDA has initiated a program of work to drive a Public Interest Technology (PIT) discussion and agenda in Australia. Possible areas of work/investigation for CEDA include: 
  • Understanding where and how politicians and policy makers get their tech information and advice, and the tech and data capabilities of politicians and policy makers and how to strengthen these (building on the Thodey 2019 Independent Review of the Australian Public Service);
  • Developing tools and information sources to increase understanding and awareness of emerging tech and data opportunities and their policy implications (short and long term);
  • Examining whether Australia has the right institutions and institutional arrangements to facilitate objective analysis and evaluation of emerging technologies and policy/regulatory implications;
  • Increasing the focus on ethical and public purpose implications of tech and data across the development, financing and commercialisation process through education and training, mentoring, and engagement with early stage tech investors;
  • Showcasing best practice development and use of tech and data for public good;
  • Articulating the most critical economic and societal challenges that could be meaningfully progressed through better use of data (public and private); and
  • Exploring how to bring private sector data to the table in support of public purpose.

Foundation Partners

The PIT Foundation Partners have the opportunity to shape a significant agenda not only for CEDA but for the nation. The program will include a range of activities aimed at driving discussion, facilitating collaboration and guiding CEDA’s program of work in this space.

CEDA would like to thank Google, IBM and KPMG who have come on board as PIT Foundation Partners to help drive the program of work.

If you would like to explore joining the program as a Foundation Partner, please contact Mel Nelson. 

PIT Advisory Group

To address the wide-ranging opportunities and challenges new technologies pose, CEDA has brought together technologists, policy makers and business to discuss how to best manage new technologies and foster the collaborative approaches necessary to support solutions to the issues of rapid technology change.
The advisory group brings together thought leaders from a range of backgrounds to assist CEDA with developing a program of works which will include research papers, fact sheets, policy papers, digital assets (blogs, vlogs and podcasts) and events with active promotion of ideas, information and recommendations shared through social and traditional media, engagement with government and CEDA’s cross-sector membership and wider network.
PIT Advisory Group members:
  • Feyi Akindoyeni, Partner, Newgate Australia
  • Melinda Cilento, Chief Executive, CEDA
  • Kaaren Koomen AM, Director, Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, IBM
  • Simon Goodrich, Founder and Managing Director, Portable
  • Nyk Loates, Director, KPMG Futures, Innovation, Solutions and Ventures
  • Alex Lynch,Public Policy and Government Affairs Manager, Google Australia
  • Sam Nickless, Partner, Gilbert + Tobin
  • Andrew Stevens, Chairman, Innovation and Science Australia
  • Prof. Mal Thatcher, Professor of Digital Practice, Queensland University of Technology
  • Prof. Glenn Wightwick, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Innovation and Enterprise), University of Technology, Sydney
The first meeting of the Advisory Group was held in May 2020. 

Public Interest Technology Forum 2020: news and highlights 

“How we develop, apply and adopt emerging technologies and how we make use of data will fundamentally shape Australia’s future economic and social development. CEDA’s mission is to positively shape that future.  The aim of our public interest technology agenda is to promote the development, take-up and use of technology and data in a way that enables a dynamic economy and maximises individual and community choice, opportunity and wellbeing.” CEDA CEO, Melinda Cilento setting the scene for the inaugural CEDA Public Interest Technology forum. 

Keynote address PIT Forum 2020: Hilary Sutcliffe
Read and watch highlights from CEDA’s PIT Forum 2020 with CEDA CEO Melinda Cilento and SocietyInside and co-director of the WEF TIGTech program, Hilary Sutcliffe, who opened the Forum asking, “what would change if the governance of technology were to consciously consider the earning of trust?” 

Keynote address PIT Forum 2020: Michelle Price
Read and watch highlights from CEDA’s PIT Forum 2020 with AustCyber, Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Price, who discussed tech governance, the growing importance of digital technologies and the significance of individual and business behaviours and actions. 

PIT Forum 2020: the role of regulation and regulators in building and maintaining trust in emerging technology
Read and watch highlights from CEDA’s PIT Forum 2020 with Edelman Australia, Group Managing Director, Susan Makatoa, Productivity Commission, Commissoner, Dr Stephen King, and Gilbert + Tobin, Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Sam Nickless, who discussed the important role that regulation and regulators have to play in building community trust in technology and in enabling innovation.

PIT Forum 2020: have we got tech risk-reward balance right?
Read and watch highlights from CEDA’s PIT Forum 2020 with KPMG, Strategy, Growth and Digital, Associate Director, Rossana Bianchi, G4S Australia and New Zealand, Managing Director, Joe Sofra, and Governance Institute of Australia, General Manager, Policy and Advocacy, Catherine Maxwell, who unpacked the implications of recent tech trends, the experience of rapid digitisation through COVID-19 and what this has meant for how we think of and manage risk.

PIT Forum 2020: the scientist's/technologist's perspective
Read and watch highlights from CEDA’s PIT Forum 2020 with The University of Queensland, Centre for Policy Futures, Research Fellow, Dr Caitlin Curtis, CSIRO, Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform, Director, Dr Justine Lacey, and Portable, Founder and Managing Director, Simon Goodrich, who discussed the role and responsibility of technologists in regard to responsible or ethical tech development and design.

PIT Forum 2020: empowering consumers
Read and watch highlights from CEDA’s PIT Forum 2020 with Australian National University, 3A Institute, Senior Fellow, Ellen Broad, King & Wood Mallesons, Partner, Scott Farrell, The University of Melbourne, Centre for AI and Digital Ethics, Co-Director, Professor Jeannie Paterson and Industry, and Science Australia, Chair, Andrew Stevens, who discussed putting the digital technology 'ball in the court of the consumer' and explored the effect of new technologies on consumer decision making.

PIT Forum 2020: putting humans at the centre of technology
Read and watch highlights from CEDA’s PIT Forum 2020 with Australian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Commissioner, Ed Santow, and the Ethics Centre, Fellow, Dr Matt Beard, who discussed how we can build confidence that human and public interest is at the centre of tech decision making.

PIT Forum 2020: tech governance, community trust in tech - what is the role of business?
Read and watch highlights from CEDA’s PIT Forum 2020 with Salesforce, Principal, Ethical AI Practice, Yoav Schlesinger and Gradient Institute, Chief Executive Officer, Bill Simpson-Young, who discussed the role businesses play in earning community trust and building confidence in the use of emerging technologies.