Director, Innovation and Enterprise Research Lab
My research is transdisciplinary and focuses on digital transformation, behavioural, decision, data science and AI technology. I use human-centric methods from behavioural economics, choice theory, belief revision, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Applications include entrepreneurship, explainable AI (XAI), data analytics, social robots, and automated decision making in a wide range of settings.
INNOVATION AND ENTERPRISE
I focus on innovation, digital transformation and entrepreneurship. My methods are founded on building to learn and learning by doing. I use transdisciplinary approaches and models from data science, behavioural design, computer science, artificial intelligence, human decision making, design thinking, business, strategic management, risk management, law and ethics.
I come from a long line of entrepreneurs with a strong sense of fun, adventure, commitment, persistence and accountability. The Magic Lab is like a startup designed to deliver value to our stakeholders: students, partners and angel investors. We guide researchers and student founders helping them develop the leadership skills they need to navigate their entrepreneurial journey.
I work with industry, the professions and government to bring radical innovation and practical methods to business challenges to create new opportunity. Some of my partners include the United Nations, IBM, Google, Sony, Softbank, EY, Gartner, PwC, Apple, CBA, CNRS France, Lund University, and Stanford University.
I explore and experiment with disruptive technologies that create new value and that have the potential to disturb exisiting value pools unleashing extraordinary opportunity and strategic benefits.
EXECUTIVE AND RESEARCH TRAINING
I design transformative educational experiences that are exciting, engaging, and fun. Changing mindsets, enabling new strategies through the discovery of new insights and new found confidence for leadership.
Making a Social Impact
with Sociable Artificial Intelligence
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
Leading teams of researchers and transforming business using innovative systems for more than 30 years. The first business system I designed, developed and deployed was a fully customised database management system based on a hashing algorithm for rapid retrieval on a IBM PC in 1984.
Envisioning, negotiating, leading and executing challenging complex projects such as sophisticated computing and social robot systems, groundbreaking research projects, and innovative large scale training programs including 12 Australian Research Council Discovery and Linkage projects.
Creating significant new value for students, the university, research collaborators and partners through purposeful focus and powerful technology insights.
Mary-Anne Williams is a Distinguished Professor and Director of the Magic Lab at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). She has a PhD in Computer Science (University of Sydney) and a Master in Laws (University of Edinburgh). Mary-Anne is a Fellow at Stanford University, and at the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). She is a leading authority on Data Science and AI with transdisciplinary strengths in Strategic Management, Disruptive Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Computer Science, Autonomous Decision Making, Machine Learning, Robotics, Ethics, IP Law, and Privacy Law.
In 2019 Mary-Anne won a Google Faculty Award in Machine Learning and the Australasian Distinguished Artificial Intelligence Contribution Award. She also led the UTS Social Robotics team to win the 2019 RoboCup World Championship in Social Robotics where robots face increasingly complex decision making challenges aimed at helping humans in a home environment.
Mary-Anne chaired the Australian Research Council's Excellence in Research for Australia Committee that undertook a national evaluation of research in Mathematics, Information and Computing Sciences in 2012. She is a non-executive director of the US-based Scientific Foundation KR Inc., Conference Chair for the 2021 Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, and serves on the Editorial Board for AAAI/MIT Press, the Information Systems Journal and the International Journal of Social Robotics. Previously Conference Chair of the International Conference on Social Robotics in 2014, the first Australian based researcher invited to be Review Editor Artificial Intelligence Journal and the first to be invited to serve on the ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award Committee for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science and Informatics.
Mary-Anne has a passion for digital transformation. She established the Innovation and Enterprise Research Lab (aka The Magic Lab) in 2002, which includes Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc. Woz is a Distinguished Adjunct Professor and actively engages with researchers and students in the Magic Lab. The research objective of this group is to bring science fiction to reality through the design of intelligent autonomous technologies that can learn and adapt as they interact and work with people.
Current Focus: Explainable Artificial Intelligence
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.
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.
A quote from more than a decade ago on Disruptive Innovation.
"Major advances in cognitive technologies over the last few years will lead to the disruptive adoption of autonomous systems that can think for themselves."
We are still not there yet, but we are getting tantalizingly close ...
Artificial Intelligence Transforming Healthcare
in collaboration with the South Western Sydney Local Health District
Question and Answering
How many languages can you speak or understand? AI can translate across more than 100 languages. Can humans do that?
The South Western Sydney Local Health District is multilingual and one of the fastest growing areas of Sydney.
Everyone gets lost in hospital! It turns out this generates one of the largest hidden costs facing hospital globally. My team developed an innovative approach to way-finding in public spaces and recently trialed it at Fairfield Hospital in collaboration with the South Western Sydney Local Health District
AI can help humans make much better decisions to make the present and future more enjoyable and prosperous.
Social robots are able to focus and pay attention 24/7. They do not transmit viruses or inflection. They can disinfect large spaces with high accuracy with UV light.
Social robots can enhance the hospital experience for healthcare professionals, patients and visitors.
Meet our RoboCup Social Robotics Team
In 2019 (Sydney Australia) our Social Robotics RoboCup Team became World Champions. We are contemplating defending our title at the next RoboCup championships in 2021 (Bordeaux France).
Our team UTS Unleashed! was established in 2017. Social robots are an emerging disruptive technology for human-centric business environments.
We won the Human-Robot Interface Award and came second in 2017 (Nagoya Japan) and 2018 (Montreal Canada) at the International RoboCup Championships.
The RoboCup opportunity enriches our unique research partnership with Softbank Robotics, strengthens our exciting partnerships with CBA and the South Western Sydney Local Health District, and opens the door to new collaborations and partnerships.
Distinguished Professor Steve Wozniak (Woz) with PhD Students Meg, Sammy and Chand.
Distinguished Professor Steve Wozniak (Woz) with Jesse, Chand, Meg, Neil, Sammy and Le.
CBA-UTS Social Robotics Partnership
I lead the UTS side of the CBA-UTS Social Robotics Academic-Industry Partnership.
- Human-Robot Interaction Research field work at Sydney International Airport
- Australian Research Council: CBA-UTS Social Robotics Research Partnership featured in Australian Research Council Booklet "Making a Difference"
- CBA Press Release CBA announcement of the Social Robotics Research Partnership with UTS
- UTS Press Release UTS announcement of the Social Robotics Research Partnership with CBA
- Stockland Press Release Working with CBA and Stockland - Human-Robot Experiments
- CBA Press Release Working with CBA and Air New Zealand
- Travel Weekly, Air NZ trails future of Travel
- Computer World Social Robot goes to the Airport
Invited Speaking Engagements and Presentations
Australian Academy of Science
Changing Lives with Science
Speaker Series 2019
How AI and Robotics is changing lives
Academy of Marketing Science
2019 Conference, Vancouver
Special Session on AI and Customer Experience
2019 Explainable AI Conference
Can we hold AI accountable?
2018 Thales Leadership Conference
Autonomous Artificial intelligence
Queensland Premiers Department
Leadership Series 2018
Innovation and Collaboration: How AI is Transforming Government
2018 Australian Engineering Conference
Ai and Robotics Panel Expert for Geoffrey Robinson's Hypothetical
The Royal Society 2018
The AI Race: Will Australia Lead or Lose?
2018 International Conference on Human Rights, Innovation and Technology
Australian Human Rights Commission.
2018 Cybersecurity MasterClass
Australian Policy Strategic Institute
Distinguished Professor Lecture
Manager / Company
Artificial Intelligence Supremacy: Will Australia Lead or Lose in an AI-world
2018 United Nations WSIS Forum on the Impact of AI
2018 Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things
Australian British Chamber of Commerce and KPMG.
2018 Future Law
2018 Chief Customer Engagement Forum Sydney
2018 Stanford Executive Program on Cybersecurity and AI
2017 Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)
2030 Vision: The trends, developments and possibilities affecting the public service of the future.
Executive Fellows Program
Disruptive Innovation Week 2017
Invited Speaker and Advisory Board
2017 Women in STEM
Women in Science Society
2017 Rise of the AI: How will it affect your Future
Market St, Sydney"
School Resource Book on Drones, Droids and Robots 2016
The Robot Revolution presented at the Australian Academy of Science 2015
WestPac sponsored video inspiring young women to take up careers in Information Technology 2007. More than 19,000 views on YouTube and available as a DVD in every school library in NSW.
Artifical Intelligence Panel at PauseFest, Melbourne
Magic Lab Video Examples
UTS Pepper Robot introducing ABC Lateline 2017
This short movie won the Most Entertaining Autonomous Robotics Video at IJCAI in Beijing 2013.
Samsung sponsored Robot Demo at the Digital Life Exhibition Melbourne 2012. Dance created by Benjamin Johnston.
Driverless cars are social robots.
Robot Soccer Videos
CSIRO Double Helix Magazine