UNSW Canberra Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Honours) (CDF) graduate Lieutenant Brandon Colelough has been named as a Fulbright Scholar for his outstanding contributions to the field of artificial intelligence (AI). With a focus on human-machine interaction, Brandon's research holds promise for the future of responsible and ethical use of AI technologies.

Brandon is one of six members from the UNSW community to receive a highly coveted Fulbright Scholarship in 2023.

The Fulbright Program is a prestigious multinational foreign exchange scholarship program that aims to build research collaboration, cultural understanding, and the exchange of innovative ideas with the United States of America. Focusing on the human-machine teaming environment, Brandon will complete his research with the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland (College Park). Through this program, Brandon will delve into the realm of trustworthy AI, aiming to bridge the gap in the existing literature by deepening the understanding between AI systems and humans to enhance trust in AI.

According to Brandon, transparency is a key facet underpinning trust in the ethical use of AI systems.

“I’m aiming to generate a common space to allow for AI systems and humans to communicate more openly and freely, ensuring mutual understanding and hence, fostering transparency and trust in AI-enabled systems,” Brandon said.

The large majority of the general public don’t fully understand how most everyday AI products generate solutions. AI products often operate as “black-box” systems, generating solutions without revealing how or why it has provided a certain response. So how can we place our full trust on the solutions provided by AI?

“I believe you cannot accept accountability for the actions or decisions of AI if it cannot explain to its operator how it has reasoned to draw some conclusion,” Brandon said.

By introducing transparency and explainability, Brandon's research will empower users to make informed decisions based on AI system outputs. This transparency will foster greater trust in AI, allowing for greater trust in these systems.

As AI is used more frequently in government and industry, ensuring the trustworthiness of AI systems holds great significance.

Brandon credits his time at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) and Royal Military College, Duntroon (RMC-D) for providing the direction and opportunities that paved the way for his success.

“ADFA and RMC-D instilled in me the values and characteristics necessary to strive for excellence and lead as a technical expert within the Australian Defence Force.

“I’m aiming to take the valuable lessons learnt from these world-class training institutions and act as a leader to build mutual understanding through the strength of knowledge and improve the lives of everyday people throughout Australia and within the international technical landscape,” he said.

As a technical leader in the Australian Army, Brandon’s research will contribute to a growing industry in. As his Fulbright Scholar journey begins, Brandon’s research promises to revolutionise the field of AI and shape a future where we can trust the systems we use.