Key insights from the webinar on Generative AI and Indigenous Data


  • The webinar, "Generative AI and Indigenous Data: The Australian Perspective," brought to light several critical points regarding the intersection of emerging technologies and Indigenous data sovereignty. This session underscored the necessity of integrating Indigenous perspectives and knowledge systems into the development and deployment of AI technologies to ensure cultural sensitivity and ethical use.
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Importance of Indigenous Data Sovereignty

A recurring theme was the need to safeguard Indigenous data from exploitation. Professor Natalie underscored the legal frameworks required to protect Indigenous cultural heritage, while Tui highlighted the spiritual and cultural imperatives of data protection. There was a strong emphasis on the risks associated with data mining, which could potentially expose sensitive cultural information without proper consent and control.


UNESCO's Role and Multilingualism

Jaco from UNESCO presented several global instruments and policies that can guide the engagement with Indigenous communities. Notably, he mentioned the 2003 Recommendation on the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace. This recommendation is pivotal in fostering the creation and preservation of Indigenous knowledge, particularly in native languages, thereby ensuring that these communities are not mere consumers but active participants in the digital space.


Ethical and Transparent AI Practices

Transparency in the processes behind generative AI was another significant concern. Ensuring that AI systems respect the origins and cultural contexts of the data they process is crucial. This includes transparent documentation of data sources and methodologies to avoid misuse and misrepresentation of Indigenous knowledge.



The session concluded with a call to action for a multi-stakeholder approach to address these challenges. The speakers urged for continued dialogue and collaboration among Indigenous communities, policymakers, and technologists to develop ethical AI frameworks that respect and protect Indigenous data. Participants were encouraged to engage in upcoming discussions and contribute to creating policies that uphold the rights and dignity of Indigenous people.

The webinar highlighted the urgency of these issues and the need for immediate action. As a follow-up, participants are invited to engage with UNESCO's initiatives, including the global task force on digital empowerment and Indigenous languages. Your involvement can help shape a future where technology supports and enhances Indigenous knowledge and cultural heritage.

By incorporating these insights and responding to the call to action, we can collectively ensure that generative AI and other emerging technologies are developed in ways that are ethical, inclusive, and respectful of Indigenous communities.


Thank You Note

A special thank you to our distinguished speakers for their invaluable insights and contributions:

  1. Our esteemed MC, Anthony Wong, President of IFIP, Adjunct Professor at the School of Information and Communication Technologies, Swinburne University of Technology. We would like to extend a special appreciation for Anthony Wong, our past President of ACS, for making this session possible through his relationship with UNESCO.

  1. Professor Natalie P. Stoianoff, Director, IP Program, UTS Indigenous Knowledge Forum. [Explore more at the Indigenous Knowledge Forum].

  1. Jaco du Toit, Chief of Section Universal Access to Information, UNESCO.

  1. Dr Kirsten Thorpe, Associate Professor, Chancellor's Indigenous Research Fellow.

  1. Tui Raven, Author of the Guidelines for First Nations Collection Description, and co-investigator and cultural advisor for the First Inventors documentary.


    Watch the full recording of the webinar here

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