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Monash Uni Malaysia Signs MoU to Advance Critical Technologies

The Monash University Malaysia and The United Nations University Institute in Macau (UNU-IIST) announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate the deliberative and participative deployment of critical technologies in Malaysia. The MoU was signed virtually, in June 2022 by the former Head of the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia, and the Director of UNU, Macau.

Led by Lecturer and Coordinator of the master’s in communications and Media Studies (MCMS), Dr Preeti Raghunath from the School of Arts and Social Sciences, the MoU will focus on cooperation and collaboration in research, and multi-stakeholder consultations and participation in Southeast Asia. It will also focus on capacity-sharing in critical technologies in Southeast Asia, focusing on Malaysia.

As part of the MoU, Dr Preeti is currently engaged in a research consultancy on Gender and AI in Malaysia. Multiple stakeholders are currently being interviewed for the project, including government officials, non-governmental entities, academics, and those from the private sector. She extended her gratitude for the support from the University’s President and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Matthew Nicholson, the School leadership and the Monash University Malaysia Quality and Governance team.

The Director of UNU, Macau stated that the organisation is thrilled to collaborate with Monash University Malaysia on gender-sensitive AI policy in Southeast Asia, as part of the Institute’s research programme on international AI ethics and policy. There is much work to be done in this field and we are looking forward to tackling this in future research projects together.

The partnership will also focus on co-supervision in research, training and capacity-sharing with policymakers. It will lead to joint research, workshops, conferences and other modalities. Dr Preeti will be the point of contact for the MoU and welcomes being contacted for collaborative efforts at Monash University Malaysia.

The United Nations University Institute in Macau is a UN global think tank on Digital Technology and Sustainability. UNU Macau conducts UN policy-relevant research and generates solutions, addressing key issues expressed in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through high-impact innovations and frontier technologies. Through its research, UNU Macau encourages data-driven and evidence-based actions and policies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

According to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet of Australia, critical technologies are current and emerging technologies with the capacity to significantly enhance or pose risk to the national interest.

Meanwhile, the United States Government Accountability Office states that critical technologies – such as elements of artificial intelligence and biotechnology – are necessary to maintain the technological superiority of the nation. As such, they are frequently the target of theft, espionage, and illegal export by adversaries.

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) outlined a revised process to better identify and protect its critical technologies including those associated with acquisition programs throughout their lifecycle or those early in development. Prior DOD efforts to identify these technologies were considered by some military officials to be too broad to guide protection. The revised process is expected to address this by offering more specificity about what elements of an acquisition program or technology need to be protected and the protection measures DOD is expected to implement.

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