Media ReleaseFrontier Technology13 Aug 2020

Reformers to reshape tech universe over next five years

Minderoo Foundation’s Frontier Technology initiative has announced the establishment of a global Tech Impact Network incorporating a number of the world’s most impactful voices on matters of technology and power.

Andrew-Forrest-and-Julia-Powles
Photo Credit: Benjamin Horgan.

Underpinned by an initial Minderoo Foundation commitment of $20 million, the inaugural nodes of the network being announced today are:

  • The Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy (University of Cambridge);
  • The Minderoo Tech & Policy Lab (the University of Western Australia) with associated projects initially at the University of Sydney, the Australian National University, and the Australian Academy of Science;
  • The Minderoo Initiative on Technology and Power (University of California, Los Angeles);
  • The Minderoo Initiative on Technology and Society (New York University); and
  • The Minderoo-Oxford Challenge Fund in AI Governance (University of Oxford);

Minderoo Foundation’s Frontier Technology initiative seeks to advance education on the societal impact of new technologies and technological change, through providing grants and donations to leading universities and research centres. It also seeks to promote safe tech commerce by driving policy reform to ensure accountability in the tech ecosystem and protections from harm for the benefit of the public. The initiative works to address the widespread violation of human rights associated with the unfettered use and abuse of personal information in the tech ecosystem.

The Tech Impact Network will incubate academic and reform work on an accelerated timeline over the next five years, with the research program zeroing in on three distinctive themes: tackling lawlessness, empowering workers, and reimagining technology.

In announcing the new Tech Impact Network, Minderoo Foundation Chairman Dr Andrew Forrest AO said: “we need a massive uptick in education and governance to wrestle with the very real harms caused by the tech sector.

“Minderoo Foundation is proud to support the crucial research, education and engagement that this network will undertake, and we hope that it can catalyse step-changes for human rights and the protection of people and the environment,” Dr Forrest said.

Minderoo Foundation Research Chair Fiona David said: “With this initiative, we took a good look at work being done globally on the social and ethical implications of digital technologies and artificial intelligence and noticed that there was a massive problem of industry capture,” Ms David said. “We felt what was missing was support, amplification, and connectivity between key experts and activists, who have been unflinching in their ongoing analysis of developments in an industry with unmitigated power and are an engine room of ideas for reform.”

Visit the Frontier Technology page to learn more about the network nodes announced.

Minderoo Foundation
by Minderoo Foundation
Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with eight key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.
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