VALA2022 Keynote 4 Reid

Data, decisions and dynamics: What libraries need to know to realise the promise and avoid the pitfalls of AI

Wednesday 15 June 2022, 13:00 – 14:00

Kathy Reid
  • Leader, learner, creator, developer

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2022 #k4

View the presentation recording and slides here:



The prescient words of William Gibson – “the future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed” – ring true for libraries – where AI capabilities are already being incorporated into the data, decisions and dynamics of collections, curation and communities. This keynote address goes beyond the hype. It equips library technologists to ask critical questions and make informed judgements around why, how and where AI should be used, and exactly who benefits in the process.

The talk begins with a gentle introduction to AI and machine learning, placing data at the centre of capabilities such as predictive analytics, automated decision making, cyber-physical systems, and new methods of interaction such as chatbots and voice assistants. It then moves on to understanding the promises and pitfalls of these capabilities, with a focus on fairness, accountability and power structures. Salient examples from libraries around the world are presented. The talk concludes by presenting concrete, tangible actions that can be taken to actively and conscientiously shape AI to strengthen the communities libraries serve.


Kathy Reid works at the intersection of technology, people and possibility. Over the last 20 years, she has held several technical and community leadership positions, Deakin University, Mycroft AI, and Linux Australia. More recently she has worked in voice and conversational AI at Mozilla and NVIDIA, helping to create speech technology that works well for everyone.

Kathy holds Arts and Science undergraduate degrees, an MBA (Computing), and a Masters in Applied Cybernetics (MAppCyber).

In 2019, she was one of 16 people from across the world chosen to co-create a new branch of engineering at the Australian National University’s School of Cybernetics, where she is now a PhD Candidate.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.