Shaping technology around the human experience

No human-designed system or algorithm is perfect – each has flaws, biases and vulnerabilities. Many of these issues are from failing to consider human values. Systems or products are less likely to be used when they’re difficult to operate. Lack of public support for new technology, despite its potential for a positive contribution, can mean it’s not accepted within society. 

Value sensitive design brings human values to the forefront of the technical design process. It considers the influence of culture and technology on one another and provides strategies for identifying and incorporating social and moral values into information technology design and development.   


The value dimension of defence engineering is important for further development, social acceptance and moral acceptability of defence technological innovations and military operations. We specialise in teasing out how social value systems interact with and influence the research, design and development of emerging military and security technology.  

From autonomous weapon systems and robots to drones and cyber security enhancement systems, we explore the questions of the interdependence of technology and governance in both military and civil contexts. Using a unique methodology, we’re building systems that are more effective, efficient and better accepted by society to help support the defence industry.  

We aim to be the global leader in the value dimension of weapon systems and security engineering research and analysis. We're committed to encouraging responsible design, innovation and technology deployment in the defence and security space. We're particularly interested in emerging technologies including: 

  • lethal autonomous weapons systems 
  • drones 
  • artificial intelligence 
  • big data 
  • blockchain 
  • military human enhancement 
  • space and quantum computing. 

We are pursuing these goals by: 

  • aligning trusted technology with societal values and user requirements to prevent technology from being misused, underutilised or no longer used  
  • providing an enhanced understanding of user requirements in the capability development lifecycle 
  • better aligning technology with societal values, and limiting negative PR. 

Competitive advantage

  • Proven experience working with trusted autonomous systems. 
  • Australia’s first and only team dedicated to inserting specific organisational values into emerging military and security products and services to enhance outcomes and user experience within the armed forces. 
  • Expertise influencing the regulation of trusted technologies at the national and international level, including United Nations regulatory efforts. 
  • Demonstrated experience positively managing the media’s coverage of trusted technologies. 
  • A unique value-sensitive design method proven to yield better design outcomes than non-value sensitive processes. 

Successful applications

  • A$1 million study of the ethical and legal implications of the development of trusted autonomous systems.  
  • Multi-million-dollar long-term program for embedding ethics and law into the design of future autonomous weapons. 


We are proud to collaborate with several distinguished partners, networks, and institutions including: 

    • Tim McFarland, 'Autonomous weapons and human control', International Committee of the Red Cross Humanitarian Law & Policy Blog, 18 July 2018 
    • Yaxley KJ; Joiner K; Abbass H; Bogais J, 2020, 'Life-learning of smart autonomous systems for meaningful human-autonomy teaming', in Handley H; Tolk A (ed.), A Framework for Human System Engineering: Applications and Case Studies, IEEE Wiley, pp. 43 - 61,

Our researchers

Senior Lecturer Max Cappuccio
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Senior Lecturer in Test and Evaluation, Aircraft Systems Keith Joiner
Senior Lecturer in Test and Evaluation, Aircraft Systems
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