Our research

The mass accumulation of data and information about people is profoundly changing our lives. We want to measure, understand and challenge the impacts these changes bring.

Our research explores the emergence and ascendance of the linked phenomena of datafication and automation of human life.

Current projects

Team members of the Datafication and Automation of Human Life research group at QUTRobodebt Lived Actualities Study

The use of automated decision-making to identify discrepancies within the income data of social security recipients, and the sending of automated claims of a potential debt (labelled ‘robodebt’) has been controversial.

This project aims to construct an understanding of the lived experience of robodebt through the gathering of a robust data set of the individual’s experiences of robodebt, with a particular focus on:

  • the timing and manner of the notification
  • the Department of Social Security’s basis for the alleged debt
  • the recipient’s claim about the alleged debt
  • steps the recipient took to communicate with the Department
  • use and progress through administrative law avenues (merits review, ombudsman, FOI)
  • the impact of the process and debt on the recipient.

Key researchers: Anna Huggins, Lyndal Sleep, Nigel Stobbs and Kieran Tranter


Big Data and the GDPR: Impacts for the property industry

Creating and using big data creates big risks – from hackers, uninformed users, technology failures and regulatory breaches.

This project will consider the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on the non-EU based members of multi-national property firms in their dealings with such data. The project will involve doctrinal and qualitative research focussing on the impacts within Australia and (in anticipation of Brexit) the UK, which will be transferable to other jurisdictions.

Lead researcher: Lucy Cradduck


New Approaches to Blockchain, Governance and Digital Communities for Smart Trade Hub

This project focuses on developing the soft and hard digital infrastructure to support the growth of smart trade. The focus of the project is the development of the infrastructure in a cross-border trading context with the China market as the principal counter-party. My role is in analysing trade agreements and Chinese regulatory changes to understand the legal barriers to smart trade.

Key researchers: Felicity Deane and Lachlan Robb


Assurance of Autonomy in Transport

This project focuses on the pathways for accreditation and assurance for automation in land and sea domains. The project is multifaceted considering the existing regulatory and assurance processes, examining the opportunities for automation of these processes and the consideration of how to future proof assurance and accreditation processes anticipating widespread adoption of automation in transport.

Key researchers: Dan Hunter, Kieran Tranter, Fran Humphries and Rachel Horne


The Role of Trustworthiness in Automated Decision-Making Systems in the Law

This project examines to what extent automated decision-making systems, as trusted intermediaries in private contracting in the construction industry and at the policy level as digital twins, can potentially demonstrate trustworthiness. An integrative model of trust and trustworthiness drawn across various disciplines is applied with four data governance law contexts to consider how these automated decision-making systems can demonstrate ability, integrity and benevolence.

Key researcher: Brydon Wang


Recently completed projects

State and Territory Roadside Enforcement

This project funded by the National Transport Commission identified the disruption to Australian roadside enforcement laws and powers of automated vehicles. The final report is available online.

Key researchers: Belinda Bennett, Kieran Tranter and Mark Brady


Artificial Intelligence, Robots and the Law

This book explores the legal and ethical issues arising from developments in AI and robotics. It is a call to students, lawyers, technologists, academics, regulators and others to engage with the issues that new developments in these technologies raise. The book engages with the application of law to the new circumstances and possibilities suggested by robots and AI for tort, criminal, and contract law, in addition exploring the need for general law reform and technology-specific regulation.

Find out more at the publishers website.

Key researchers: Michael Guihot and Lyria Bennett Moses


Law, Technology and Humans journal

Law, Technology and Humans is an international, open access, peer-reviewed journal publishing original, innovative research concerned with the human and humanity of technology and law. Law, Technology and Humans publishes collections of articles in special issues and symposiums, and individual articles.

Committed to the wide and unrestricted dissemination of knowledge, Law, Technology and Humans encourages scholarship that reflects on how technology is changing law, regulation and normative conduct and also how law, regulation and normative conduct effects local and global challenges and opportunities from technological change.

Chief Editor: Kieran Tranter