As we approach the third anniversary of the School of Cybernetics, we reflect on the incredible milestones achieved during 2023. We’re thrilled to share our journey in this celebratory overview.
Happy new year and welcome to 2023!
We commenced 2023 on a high note after our School’s remarkable official launch in 2022. The new year promises numerous opportunities for our students, partners and industry professionals as we continue to create, experiment and collaborate on safe, sustainable and responsible approaches to new technological systems.
Watch highlights of the School Launch.
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We welcomed our fifth cohort of Master students.
Our 16 students come from diverse and impressive backgrounds. As mid-career professionals, they bring a wealth of experience from various fields including teaching, army logistics, non-profits, big tech, festival direction, data analysis, Indigenous affairs, cybersecurity and business management.
We co-hosted an interactive breakfast discussion along with the Paul Ramsay Foundation on the role of collective intelligence and cybernetics in changing how we think about social policy.
We launched our first public-facing micro-learning full-day course.
This course took a deep dive into new ways to talk productively about AI, without being beholden to existing technological narratives. It helped participants to acquire skills to think in system and gain a deep understanding of how AI fits into not just our current social order but future iterations.
Maia Gould, Cybernetic Engagements Lead, Hannah Simpson, Educational Developer, and Jackie Randles, Partnerships Lead, hosted a networking lunch and workshop in Melbourne as part of the Data Informed Design (DID) Conference.
We launched Cybernetic Imagination Residency program.
“The Cybernetic Imagination Residency Program is a collaboration to create stories about the future that are hopeful,” Associate Professor and Cybernetic Futures Lead Andrew Meares said.
On April 28, we hosted five residents who form the first two cohorts of Cybernetic Imagination Residents and officially launched the program.
In light of the federal government’s announcement for long-term Trove funding, the School produced a series of vignettes, ‘AI and libraries’, which explores the role of libraries as a trusted curator, custodian of knowledge and a midwife of new ideas.
The School contributed to the Australian Universities Accord Discussion Paper reviewing Australia’s ambitions, aspirations and potential in the higher education sector.
The School was featured on The Australian.
The article authored by The Australian’s higher education editor Tim Dodd covered the School’s official launch, the exhibition ‘Australian Cybernetic: a point through time’ and the School’s mission into the future. Read here.
Some other coverages of the School and school members this year:#
- In a conversation with Brunswick’s Alice Gibb, Genevieve Bell discusses the field of cybernetics and its relevance to the 21st century. She highlights the need to embrace diverse perspectives in problem-solving and the importance of making an optimistic future through active participation. Read »
- During the interview with Brad Howarth for The Mandarin’s special report on AI in the public sector, Matthew Holt highlights the importance of comprehending AI in its entirety and seeing generative AI as part of the computing revolution. Read »
- In an interview by APAC Network, Professor Katherine Daniell explains how Cybernetics principles can help current and emerging leaders to shape our fast, smart and interconnected world. Watch here.
Our School Director Genevieve Bell delivered the esteemed Ann Moyal Lecture 2023 at the National Library of Australia. She shared a new set of stories about the Overland Telegraph Line with the audience, stories that examine it as a complex cybernetic system, and the questions we must ask of any large system and its unintended consequences, regulations, impact, power, control and inequity.
We launched a series of learning experiences.
We launched an array of full-day non-award learning experiences to prepare organisations, workplaces and individuals for the increasingly fast-paced technological world.
Student Demo Day Semester one was on, and that meant 2023 cohort was halfway through their Master program study. 16 individual projects were displayed on the day.
Lucie in the Sky unveiled at Uncharted Territory Festival.
Lucie in the Sky, a world-first dance performance blending artistry with drone technology, was unveiled at the Uncharted Territory Festival, a result of a multi-year research collaboration between the Australasian Dance Collective (ADC) and Professor Alex Zafiroglu from the School.
We responded to the inquiry into the use of generative AI in the Australian Education system and to the ‘Safe and responsible AI in Australia’ Discussion Paper, Department of Industry, Science & Resources.
Cybernetic Snacks made its return this year! We talked to more leading voices in the field of Cybernetics. We also celebrated the graduation of our 2022 Master students!
We benefited from a series of enlightening talks.
August was packed with learning and sharing. We welcomed Professor Gerald Midgley from the University of Hull to deliver a series of talks regarding his work in systems analysis and systems thinking. Read here.
Professor Bill Reckmeyer delivered a captivating talk on the “Cybernetics Systems Program at San José State University: 1962-1992 – 30 Years of Innovation Education”.
Staff are doing remarkable things in the world! Here are some of them:
- Louisa Shen, a researcher at the School, joined other ANU scholars for a fantastic film screening and discussion of Blade Runner on 18 August at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
- Associate Professor Matthew Holt and Dr Safiya Okai-Ugbaje joined Tracey Spicer for a panel discussion on the basics and impacts of AI and delivered a workshop - Let’s demystify Artificial Intelligence - at the ALP fringe conference in Brisbane.
- Dr Safiya Okai-Ugbaje was speaking at the “See It to Be It” conference - a platform for empowerment and a celebration of diversity and inclusion in the tech world.
And some of the featured pieces contributed by school members:
- Alex Zafiroglu - Long-term government funding for Trove at the National Library of Australia a win for all.
- Chris Mesiku - Enhancing Human Flourishing: The Synergy between Data and a Systems Approach.
- Alex Fischer - How should a robot explore the Moon? A simple question shows the limits of current AI systems.
- Julian Vido - No idea what it’s talking about.
Genevieve Bell announced new VC and Top 100 Innovator.
Wow! This was a month with big news. Our director was announced to be the next Vice-Chancellor and President of the ANU. In addition to this celebratory news, Genevieve was also recognised on The Australian Top 100 Innovators List, which celebrates and highlights future-focused leaders and companies helping to put Australia on the map as an innovative nation.
First AI and leadership learning experiences were delivered in Canberra, garnering positive feedback.
Metaverse report launched at SXSW Sydney.
This groundbreaking report delves into the fascinating realm of the metaverse. It dissects the metaverse’s roots and its journey to the present day and offers a cybernetic perspective on the metaverse’s potential and the pathways to shape its development.
Another impactful research report published this month was “Designing for change”.
We got exciting news within the alumni community - Mikaela Jade (2020 Master cohort) was announced 2023 Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) new fellow, along with our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Schmidt.
The School has been shortlisted for the Developing Emerging Skills and Competencies Award by QS Reimagine Education through our New practitioners to shape safe, sustainable and responsible futures submission.
Learning experiences on tour!
We continued to deliver our learning experiences, and this time we’re taking it to Sydney and Melbourne!
Master students showcased their group cyber-physical projects during the semester-two Demo Day, and this marked a wrap-up in their learning journey.
We welcomed our alumni back for the inaugural Alumni Professional Development Day - a jam-packed two days of networking, learning, sharing and collaborating.
Find out some of our alumni’s achievements:
- Jacob Sheung-Kay Choi (Master of Cybernetics, 2020 cohort) was awarded as one of Australia’s Top 40 Under 40 most influential Asian-Australians in the country! He was awarded Winner of the Asian-Australian Leadership Awards, Public Sector & Government.
- Glen Berman (2019 Master cohort, current PhD candidate at ANU School of Engineering) published a new paper in Big Data & Society, a preeminent journal for interdisciplinary social science research. The paper, titled Investigating hybridity in artificial intelligence research was co-authored by Glen and Dr Kate Williams at University of Melbourne and Sandra Michalska.
- Erika Ly (2021 Master cohort), Policy Manager at the Tech Council Australia, was interviewed by the National AI Centre about her thoughts on the future of AI. Watch here.
- Jake Blight (2021 cohort, and current PhD candidate at the School of Cybernetics) was appointed as the next Independent National Security Legislation Monitor. Read more.
- Evan Skinner (2022 cohort and PhD candidate at the School of Cybernetics) co-presented Hopeful Futures via Cybernetics and Generative AI at SXSW Sydney.
QS Reimagine Education Award Bronze Winner!
We are the Bronze Winner for the Developing Emerging Skills and Competencies Award by QS Reimagine Education! The QS Reimagine Education Awards celebrate and reward the world’s most successful educational innovations enhancing student learning outcomes and employability. Read more.
We are going on holiday from 18 December to rest, rejuvenate and gear up for our return on 10 January 2024. We look forward to the adventures and future possibilities together in 2024.