Sandra Hogan pictured speaking at an event

The ethical applications of artificial intelligence (AI) kicked off the conversation on data analytics with General Manager Sandra Hogan on a recent afternoon, leading to a discussion on the built-in biases inherent in AI given the role humans play in creating it.

Sandra asserts that globally, we need to be making better decisions about what we automate and what we want to control, but also how those biases inherent in the process impact outcomes. Sandra explains: 

Every piece of data we use reflects us.

"So if you use a group of people and their data to predict anything, it brings in the biases and assumptions of those people."

When it comes to her work, Sandra says she sees her role leading the Data Science and Analytics team as being about bringing the art of the possible to life. 

"We want to get people thinking differently," she says. 'How do we use data to make better decisions. How do we act as enablers for the business?'

Sandra Hogan

Prior to Sandra's team stepping in, business often make decisions based on what they are familiar with. This has been especially true over the last year, when people around the world have been under stress due to the pandemic, and it's easier to stick to what's known and safe.

She says that sometimes our experience is our biggest blind spot, so it's good to bring in people with different experiences to give a different perspective, then use the data to challenge ourselves.

"There'll always need to be knowledge of your business to make decisions, it can't be 100% about the data," Sandra says.

Neither experience nor data alone can tell you everything, but together they provide you with the building blocks for analysis and decision making.

Sandra's next steps will include getting out and about around Ventia's contracts and teams to demonstrate the benefits of using data for decision making.

Sandra says that ultimately, she sees her role as a change manager. 'I need to lead the charge on change and how my team and I can influence decisions and strategies through the application of data and analysis.'

National Science Week

National Science Week is Australia's annual celebration of science and technology, and runs in August. 

During the week, we'll be proudly profiling some of our talented team how we support STEM careers. 

Watch our video of Emily Leow, a Principal Process Engineer at ICD

Read out story how how we are inspiring school students through STEM