Australian Institute of Administrative Law

Lunchtime webinar on administrative law and AI with Will Bateman

13 Oct

Lunchtime Webinar

Mechanical cognition, determinism and individual justice: New challenges for administrative law from AI

Presenter: Dr Will Bateman

Chair: Paul Pfitzner

Existing public law rules and government institutions are built on certain assumptions about the cognitive capacities of public officials and citizens: intuitive abilities to understand complex texts, non-textual human communication, opportunistic behaviour and the need for compassion/empathy. Many public law rules also assume that public officials and citizens have free wills and must be treated as unique individuals. The rise of AI brings with it the rise of mechanical (or computational) systems of cognition, which differ in important ways from human cognition, being: more precise, more transparent, more consistent, less flexible, less capable of responding to complex texts and environments and less obviously capable of compassion. Machine learning systems challenge ideas around free will and challenge assumptions about the uniqueness of individual behaviour. This talk will explore the various challenges the widespread adoption of AI by governments poses to traditional public law and proposes a set of legislative and doctrinal solutions.

Dr Will Bateman is Chief Investigator (Law) of the ANU Grand Challenge Project: Humanising Machine Intelligence and leads research projects on the regulation of artificial intelligence. He is currently spearheading a major project on the formulation of model legal frameworks to govern artificial intelligence in the public sector. He also collaborates with computer science experts in designing ethical and lawful algorithmic decision systems. For further information on Dr Bateman's Publications, see his full research profile here

Paul Pfitzner is the Senior Assistant Ombudsman, Industry and Strategy Branch, in the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Date: Tuesday 13 October 2020

Time: 12.30 pm AEDT (Qld 11.30am; SA 12.00 pm; WA 9.30am)

Teleconference via Zoom The webinar is open to all members of the AIAL and to any interested members of the public. Admission is free, but registration is required. Except in WA, CLE/CPD points are available if this educational activity is relevant to your immediate or long term needs in relation to your professional development and practice of the law. Please contact your local law society for further details. Any WA practitioners attending should note this event is not currently covered by AIAL WA Chapter QA accreditation, although the WA Chapter is exploring options.

Please book via the TryBooking link:

Inquiries can be directed to the AIAL Secretariat on 02 6290 1505 or at

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