The Future

The Autonomy, Agency and Assurance Innovation Institute (3A Institute) brings together a team of professional staff and researchers from a range of disciplines to build a new applied science around the management of artificial intelligence, data and technology and of their impact on humanity.

The Australian National University (ANU) launched the 3A Institute on 4 September 2017 in collaboration with CSIRO's Data61, for an initial duration of 5 years. By 2022, the 3A Institute aims to have set a new intellectual framework combining both theory and praxis in and to have built a curriculum to start training the first generation of certified practitioners of this new applied science.


In 2016, the World Economic Forum suggested we were entering the 4th wave of industrialisation; one characterised by cyber-physical systems. These systems will rely on the mainstreaming of the Internet of Things, Big Data, and Machine Learning. This new Era could result in significant economic, social and cultural shifts.

At the ANU we also recognise that this new Era, like those that came before, will necessitate new ways of thinking, doing and making. Building a new intellectual approach is critical. The 3A Institute seeks to do just this. We are researching a set of critical questions around Autonomy, Agency and Assurance for cyber-physical systems. We are also exploring the metrics by which we will measure the success of these systems, and the possible interface(s) between humans and CPS.


How do we think about the notion of autonomy and how do we build for it?

This is both a technical set of questions and a philosophical and public policy set of questions. The notion that we are building autonomous systems that make decisions and possibly affect their surroundings without our involvement has complex implications in terms of liability and responsibility.

Beyond the technical challenge of building truly autonomous systems lie complex ethical questions that the 3A Institute will tackle.


What degree of ‘self’ empowerment do we give autonomous systems?

Conversations are unfolding globally about the degree of independence to give to autonomous and semiautonomous systems and how we envision our lives and interactions in a social context shared between AIs and humans.

We need to explore whether we are confident with AIs acting and interacting autonomously on our behalves in a range of fields. The 3A Institute will drive a broad range of conversations with stakeholders across sectors to identify challenges and opportunities.


Will these systems be safe?

Current technological progress calls for new regulatory tools and processes, as algorithms designed globally are introduced into societies around the world. The virtual nature of these new goods and services has an impact on our ability to regulate their design and use in a way that aligns with core cultural values

We have the opportunity to shape the future of our societies as we transition from a concrete, machine-powered world to one that will increasingly revolve around Big Data and powerful, autonomous cyber-physical systems.



Founding Partners

The 3A Institute is co-founded by the Australian National University and Data61’s CSIRO.


The 3A Institute is actively driving conversation to develop additional partnerships.

Interested in partnering with 3Ai? Contact Us

Contact Us

The 3A Institute is hosted in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.

Please use the contact form to get in touch or call us on +61 2 6125 8551

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