Workshop A: Risk and Reward: Responsible AI in the public sector

Friday 10 May 2024



Christopher Leong, Co-Founder, AI Safety Australia and New Zealand

James Gauci, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ethē

Harriet Farlow, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mileva Security Labs


Artificial Intelligence is one of the greatest technological advents of this era, for its significant ability to transform so many facets of our lives. From finance, to transport, the environment, cybersecurity, health, defence, and so much more – AI is unlocking new opportunities for productivity and development across every sector.


Posing as many risks as it does opportunities, public sector risk managers find themselves at the forefront of navigating risks and rewards of frontier AI, and ensuring it is employed safely. While frontier AI continues to evolve, biased data or incorrect algorithms pose uncertain and existential risks to organisations. This session will be led by three thought-leaders in AI safety and governance, and will equip you with better understanding of frontier AI systems, so controls can be enacted and risks and harms reduced.

The workshop is designed as follows:

  • Part One: Christopher Leong, Co-Founder of AI Safety Australia and New Zealand, will commence the session by establishing the context around the development and mechanisms driving frontier AI:
    – Defining terms: what is frontier AI? What does safe and ethical mean in the context of frontier AI?
    – Canvassing AI standards: the Bletchley Declaration, ISO42001:2023
    – Predicting capabilities of emerging frontier AI – opportunities and risks
    – Summarising transformers, the architecture driving frontier AI’s advances
    – Comparing governance frameworks for frontier AI and prosaic AI

  • Part Two: James Gauci, Founder and CEO of Ethē, will empower you with the knowledge to establish robust AI governance in your organisation:
    Ensuring compliance with mandatory principles and standards for public sector AI use
    Weaving AI standards into your organisation’s governance and strategy
    Providing assurance for executives and boards that AI is responsibly deployed
    Developing a risk management system to continually review, track, and manage risks
    Empowering engineers to innovate without compromising organisational objectives

  • Part Three: The last hour of the workshop, delivered by Harriet Farlow, will focus on AI Security. While AI Safety and Security are often discussed in tandem, this part will focus on Adversarial Machine Learning (AML) attacks, which provide a means to ”hack” AI and machine learning algorithms. These techniques may include subtly altering datasets before training, evading classification, leaking sensitive information, or manipulating the model’s behaviour to perform unintended actions. With the increasing integration of AI into various products and services, understanding and addressing AI security risks are paramount. Through practical demonstrations and discussions, we will highlight the vulnerabilities present in AI systems, offering insights into defensive strategies that can mitigate these risks in terms of both technical and policy considerations. This workshop provides a valuable opportunity for attendees to enhance their understanding of AI security and explore how their expertise can be leveraged to bolster the security posture of AI-driven technologies.


Meet your amazing facilitators, who combined have more than three decades of experience in AI, security, and technology:

  • Christopher Leong is a Co-Founder of AI Safety Australia and New Zealand (AISANZ), a philanthropically funded community building and professional training organisation focusing on Frontier AI Safety (AIS). Many AISANZ alumni or associates have gone on to take technical or governance roles in the Frontier AIS space including Leap Labs, Harmony Intelligence and the UK AI Safety Institute. Chris represented Australia on the 2005 Informatics Olympiad team and studied Science (Advanced Maths) with Honors in Computer Science at USYD. He has many years of experience as a professional developer and a wide knowledge of AIS having attended many training programs including Arena (Alignment Research Engineer Accelerator), interning at Nonlinear and a Summer Fellowship with the Stanford Existential Risks Initiative. He is currently working on an adversarial collaboration with a researcher from the Machine Intelligence Research Institute and facilitating the AGI Safety Fundamentals course for BlueDot Impact. In his spare time, he likes to read philosophy.


  • James Gauci James is CEO and founder of Ethē, an Australian AI governance and assurance platform. Ethē helps organisations establish responsible AI governance in days, not months, and is built to support international standards in AI risk, safety, impact and ethics management. Last year James’s company donated more than 50% of its profits to AI safety and standards research and development. James has enjoyed more than a decade in technology roles across the public and private sector, holds a Bachelor of Psychological Science and an MBA, and is Chair of the Australian national committee of the IEEE SSIT (Society on Social Implications of Technology). 


  • Harriet Farlow is the CEO and Founder of Mileva Security Labs. With nearly a decade of experience at the intersection of AI and cyber security, Harriet is a recognised leader in her field. Harriet’s journey began at Deloitte Australia, where she specialised in Defence portfolio projects as a Senior Consultant. Her career also spans roles as a Data Scientist at the University of Sydney and as Senior Delivery Lead at a tech education start-up in New York City. She returned to Canberra to work for the Australian Government, where she served at the intersection of data science, cyber security, and national security, eventually becoming an acting Tech Director. She holds a degree in Physics and Bio-anthropology, along with a Master’s in Cyber Security. In 2021 she commenced a PhD in Machine Learning Security. This is where she encountered AI Security and adversarial machine learning for the first time. In 2023, Harriet founded Mileva Security Labs, driven by her mission to raise awareness about AI system vulnerabilities and provide solutions to secure them. Her work ensures that organisations are equipped to defend against threats and protect their AI systems from disruption and compromise.