I have been working in innovation for more than 30 years having lead five research labs and centres including the Magic Lab for 18 years.
I am the Michael J Crouch Chair for Innovation at UNSW where I collaborate to grow entrepreneurship and accelerate innovative thinking in Australia. Micheal Crouch was an inspiring Australian entrepreneur and business leader. He was a visionary and extraordinarily generous benefactor. In 2017 Michael Crouch was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for eminent service to the community through philanthropic contributions to youth,...view more
I am the Michael J Crouch Chair for Innovation at UNSW where I collaborate to grow entrepreneurship and accelerate innovative thinking in Australia. Micheal Crouch was an inspiring Australian entrepreneur and business leader. He was a visionary and extraordinarily generous benefactor. In 2017 Michael Crouch was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for eminent service to the community through philanthropic contributions to youth, cultural, medical research and health care organisations, to business in the areas of manufacturing and international trade, and as a supporter of innovation and higher education.
Prior to taking up this exciting role I spent 18 years as founder and director of the Innovation and Enterprise Research Lab (The Magic Lab), Australian Artificial Intelligence Institute at UTS. The Magic Lab was a pioneer with unique transdisciplinary capabilities in key areas of innovation and enterprise. It specialised in technology-enabled innovation and build solutions using AI, Design Thinking, Experimentation, and Analytics. Our industry and government partners included South Western Sydney Local Health District, IBM, Google, Disrupt, Linkedin, bigtincan, Willow Garage (now Savioke), Amazon, Visual Risk, CBA, Denmark's National Bank, Samsung, Sony, and Softbank.
AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL GRANTS
- Australia Research Council Discovery Project 2016 - 2018 $380,000; Project Title: Robust Intelligence: Rational Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty; Chief Investigator: Mary-Anne Williams; Partners: Peter Gärdenfors (Lund University, Sweden), Henri Prade (CNRS); Summary: Intelligent agents exercise profound and growing impact in business and society. However, significant problems arise in intelligent agent deployment as their theoretical underpinnings do not ensure rational decision making in complex real-world settings. This project will bridge the gap between theory and practice with an innovative framework for rational decision making under risk and uncertainty. It will open the door to transformational technologies that will drive new entrepreneurial opportunities in agent-based global services.
- Australia Research Council Linkage Project 2012 - 2014 $335,000 + significant in-kind support; Project Title: A Framework for Physical and Social Collaboration: Towards the Smarter Planet Vision; Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams, and Benjamin Johnston; Partner: IBM Australia; Summary: This project developed a new approach to intelligent collaborative technologies by advancing the theory of collaborative action and developing an innovative framework and practical methods which will allow intelligent systems to undertake the collaborative actions required for applications in transport, energy management, sustainability, and healthcare.
- Australia Research Council Discovery Project 2012 - 2014 $320,000; Project Title: Adaptive Cyber-Physical Technologies with Attention Driven Common-sense Behaviours; Chief Investigator: Mary-Anne Williams; Partner Investigator: Peter Gärdenfors (Lund University, Sweden); Summary: This project focused on intelligent cyber-physical systems for open, complex and changing environments presents enormous scientific challenges. It developed an innovative framework, methods and tools that provide cyber-physical technologies with attention based common-sense capabilities for adapting to new, unexpected and unforeseen situations.
- Australia Research Council Linkage Project 2011 - 2014 $280,000 + significant in kind support; Project Title: Establishing a Next Generation Framework to Determine the Influence of Intelligent Water Metering on Householder Attitudes and Behaviours; Chief Investigators: Stuart B White, Rodney A Stewart, Mary-Anne Williams, Damien P Giurco, Kelvin R O'Hallora; Partners: Mid Coast Water and the Institute of Sustainable Futures; Summary: This project tested competing theories on how householders respond to interactive water consumption data from smart meters. The outcome is a novel framework for intelligent water management; underpinned by innovative research into causal mechanisms linking data communication to knowledge, and the impact of knowledge on attitudes and behaviours.
- Australia Research Council Discovery Project 2008 - 2011 $270,000; Project Title: Developing and Managing Sustainable Technology-enabled Innovation Capabilities; Chief Investigators: Steve Elliot (University of Sydney) and Mary-Anne Williams; Summary: This project helped organisations develop sustainable innovation capabilities using disruptive technologies.
- Australia Research Council Discovery Project 2007 - 2011 $340,000; Project Title: Planning, Communication, and Collaboration in Cognitive Systems; Chief Investigator: Mary-Anne Williams; Partner: Peter Gärdenfors (Lund University, Sweden); Summary: This project developed a better understanding of collaboration in complex environments.
- Australia Research Council Discovery Project 2004 – 2007 $150,000; Project Title: Intelligent Agent and Semantic Web empowered eFinance: A Knowledge Management Approach to enable and sustain Innovation; Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams and Steve Elliot (University of Sydney) Partner: Dieter Fensel (University of Innsbruck, Austria); Summary: This research project made strong theoretical advances by developing an integrated and scalable knowledge engineering approach to the problems confronting Australian Industry.
- Australia Research Council Discovery Project 2002 – 2006 $200,000; Project Title: Agent-Oriented Concept Management; Chief Investigator: Mary-Anne Williams; Partner: Peter Gärdenfors (Lund University, Sweden); Summary: In order for agents to communicate effectively they must share concepts, and attribute the same meaning to shared concepts. We developed a innovative approach to concept management a new area of research with important application to intelligent systems.
- Australia Research Council Project 2000 - 2003 $200,000; Project Title: Information and Knowledge Integration; Chief Investigator: Mary-Anne Williams; Partner: Grigoris Antoniou (University of Crete, Greece); Summary: One of the key issues in global information infrastructures like the World Wide Web and enterprise networks is the ability to combine information from different sources in meaningful ways.
- Australia Research Council Project 1998 - 2001 $180,000; Project Title: Exception-Tolerant Information Systems for Managing Uncertain Information; Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams; Partners: Didier Dubois and Henri Prade (CNRS, France); Summary: This project designed and developed exception-tolerant techniques to allow business systems to perform effectively when using qualitatively uncertain information.
- Australia Research Council Project 1997 - 2000 $200,000; Project Title: Reasoning with Changing and Incomplete Information Project; Chief Investigators: Mary-Anne Williams and Grigoris Antoniou; Summary: Developed a decision making framework for handling decisions based on changing and incomplete information using techniques from Knowledge Representation and Reasoning.
- Australia Research Council Project 1996 - 1999 $170,000; Project Title: Entrenchment Based Reasoning about Action; Chief Investigators: Norman Foo UNSW, Pavlos Peppas and Mary-Anne Williams; Summary: This project developed innovative algorithms for challenging planning problems that allowed for changing requirements.
PhD, Artificial Intelligence, University of Sydney, 1994
Master of Laws (LL.M.), Innovation, Law and Technology, University of Edinburgh, 2008
Master of Science, Computer Science, 1991
Most Outstanding Faculty Advisor, Enactus Australia
Google International Faculty Award Machine Learning 2021-2022
Google International Faculty Award Machine Learning 2019 - 2020
Pauli Fellowship, Austrian Ministry of Science and Research, 2008
IBM Faculty Award, 2007
University of Edinburgh Law School Fellowship Award 2006 - 2008
Commonwealth Fellowship, Australian Academy of Science 1996
British Council Fellowship 1996
Australasian Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award 1994 Comp Sc Association (CORE)
My Research Activities
Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can enhance, improve and scale human expertise is dramatically changing and impacting our social and working lives, influencing how we perceive and interact with the physical and digital world.
Society is rapidly moving into the AI-Age where individuals, citizens, societal groups, businesses, governments and the global economy increasingly rely on the perceptions, decisions and actions of AI.
Human-AI collaboration is the study of how humans and AI work together to accomplish tasks and shared goals.
My research focuses on addressing the significant barriers and risks that prevent AI from delivering the extraordinary benefits it has the potential to generate. Today, AI can outperform humans in making predictions, but it cannot explain its predictions to humans. People are often unable to find the insights fro blackbox AI technologies to fully realise the benefit of AI. Without insights and understanding, humans cannot demonstrate the extent to which AI algorithms are safe, fair and responsible. This is an urgent problem that needs to be solve. We need robust AI solutions to unlock the benefits for business, society and humanity.
A related research focus is explainable AI. Today, however, AI is not transparent or accountable, unable to explain perceptions, decisions and actions. AI that cannot explain its behaviour and decisions is a significant problem for business, government and society.
People need explanations to develop trust and confidence in AI, execute AI recommendations, and accept AI actions and outcomes. Furthermore, regulators insist that business, industry and government demonstrate that their AI algorithms comply with the law. How will AI systems avoid discrimination against specific groups, and comply with anti-discrimination law?
My current focus is on developing new approaches to eXplainable AI (XAI) as a means of making AI more transparent, accountable, and trustworthy. Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to have a profound impact on all aspects of business, government and civil society. To help bring more clarity and to explore potential solutions to the rapidly growing urgent issues, we launched the AI Policy Hub in 2018.
You can find one of my papers at the Royal Society that outlines how Australia can lead in the new AI-driven world. It is provides a summary of a presentation to the four esteemed national academies at NSW Government House in Australia in November 2018.
My Research Supervision
Areas of supervision
- Human-AI Collaboration - modeling how humans and AI work together to make decisions, and accomplish tasks and shared goals.
- Innovation, Strategy and Entrepreneurship - startups, scaleups, value (creation, capture and delivery), value proposition, business model, business strategy, digital transformation
- Artificial Intelligence - integrating reasoning with learning, human-machine interaction
- Social Intelligence - social choice, cooperation, collaboration
- Decision Making - under uncertainty, incompleteness and change; cognition; software cognitive architectures
- Behavioural Insights- bias and noise in human judgement, design for human enhancement
I am excited to work with students who:
- are super curious and want to make the world more inclusive and equitable and work better, faster and/or cheaper;
- have business ideas they want to bring to life that will have a significant impact on society and business, and able to transform people's lives;
- want to design AI that can transform business by creating new value e.g. AI is law-abiding, ethically sound, trustworthy, fair, responsible, explainable and accountable;
- want to advance the frontiers of decision making, behavioural design, social intelligence, trust and management in organisations.
I have supervised 27 higher degree research students to completion - see list below.
CURRENT PhD Students
GRADUATED PhD Students