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Session 16A, 16F & 16D 10:00-11:30 // day two

16A - International Development & Global Governance University of Warwick and Monash University Australia

In recent times, the misconduct of Australia’s leading bank organisations has made headlines, involving $1 billion worth of fines and more than 50 scandals since 2009. However, Australian bank senior managers seem unaffected and obvious to any wrong doings. This research uncovers this misbehaviour through a comparative case study of two major Australian banks, CBA and ANZ. Overall, the project aimed to investigate the toxic culture of governance which has led to the banking industry’s unethical behaviours, to raise public awareness of bank regulations and to help improve bank regulation methods.A literature review of both CBA and ANZ was conducted investigating corporate governance theories, newspaper articles, magazines and regression models. ANZ and CBA annual reports and other market reports were also compared to uncover why each governance framework has failed to stop banks from misconducts. The results suggest that even if good governance framework is in place, toxic bank culture can impair the execution, where senior managers protect each other and breach rules for personal gain. The study also revealed that stronger regulations and public supervisionare needed and better investigation methods should be developed to cope with banks misconducts.Australian Banks play a major role in shaping Australian society and culture. They hold the majority of financial assets and are involved in almost all other facets of financial intermediation. We must take action against this toxic culture to ensure a sustainable growing economy for many years to come.

Successive Victorian and Federal Governments have allocated funding to various transport projects which have mainly been rooted in Melbourne and in metropolitan Victoria. Whilst current government expenditure does allocate additional funding to regional areas of the state, there are still massive gaps where there is limited public transport available. Using research conducted on Western Victoria, this study will analyse the impact limited public transport has on rural communities and their welfare. This will include outlining past government policies and evaluating current public transport provisions in regards to other regions. Moreover, this will place an onus on the social and economic pressures put on communities which may be affected by limited connectivity to regional hubs and Melbourne. By disseminating such data, this study attempts to clarify the issue not just in Western Victoria but in regional/rural areas of other Western countries and how they compare to regional Victoria. This includes comparing transport options made available to similar areas and likely solutions for these issues. Ultimately, this will expose global problems experienced by those in rural areas with limited connectivity and minimal transport options.

The aim of this research is to analyse what factors affect asylum seekers’ expectations the most. Studying agents’ expectations is important because of their relationship with present behaviour: the higher expectations about the future are, the more positive someone will be in the present. In the Italian immigration context, investigating expectations is particularly relevant to decide what policies to put in place to facilitate integration.

This study is conducted on a novel data set collected in 2018 in two asylum seekers centres in Italy. Several expectation variables are used to have a well-rounded understanding of the migrants’ perception about their life in a year’s time, including expectation of obtaining international protection, finding a job, staying in Italy, starting a family. The factors taken into consideration are the type of hosting centre they are in, how frequently they practice Italian, the internships and courses they have undertaken.

In 2015, five feminist activists were detained by the police when distributing fliers to raise the awareness of sexual harassment on public transport in China. In 2018, the most renowned feminist online account on Weibo, Feminist Voices was deleted. Censorship in China threatens the rights and happiness of millions of Chinese women. According to the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, China was ranked No.100 out of 144 countries for gender equality; and its gender income gap continues widening since 1980s. The purpose of the research is to increase the awareness of feminist development in China by combating state censorship.

Many contemporary literatures have discovered the severity of gender inequality in urban regions of China. (Kim, et al., 2010, Ji, et al., 2017) However, few studies have looked into the rural regions of China. By conducting online surveys, interviews and examining case studies in both rural and urban regions of China, this paper examines how Chinese citizens perceive gender role and censorship. Comparing the outcomes of regions is crucial in determining the impact of education on eliminating gender inequality. The qualitative research studies the impact of censorship on the feminist development, and concludes that censorship creates a vicious cycle, hindering the development and localization of feminism, Smiling Chinese Feminism. The adapted feminism concept highlights the “harmony between men and women” that is more suitable in the social and political context of China. (Yanfang, 2005; Dongping, 2006; Spakowski, 2011) The research highlights the negative impact of censorship beyond gender equality that gender discrimination hinders birth rate and economic productivity, while accelerates the pace of aging society, urging the development of localized feminism.

16D - Intelligent Systems, Machines & Markets University of Warwick and Nanyang Technological University

Abstract pattern recognition is one of the marvels of the human mind. In pursuit of general intelligence, an agent should be able to mimic this ability by drawing links between high-level concepts and adapting solutions from one area to crack another. Researchers at Google DeepMind recently managed to create a program, AlphaZero (Silver et al 2018), able to beat any previous AI program at the chinese game Go, and fully generalisable to any other discrete game with perfect information(i.e., each player, when making any decision, is perfectly informed of all the events that have previously occurred), for example Chess and Shogu . Because these algorithms are generale and work from first principles, without aid of human expertise, they show promise for automating the programming of machines in many other contexts, including those where it would be impractical to program them by hand. Indeed, as these algorithms are based on what is referred to as reinforcement learning, these practices have already been used in many real-world applications, inlcuding self-driving cars (Chen et al 2015) , and even autonomous helicopters (Y. Ng. Andrew et al 2006).

The dominating technique that guides the decision making of these gameplay agents is Monte Carlo Tree Search (MCTS) , a novel approach that has been found to be extremely effective in some games (like Go), but harder to optimise above human performance in others (like Chess). Ramanujan et al 2010 showed that this may be caused from certain “trap states” generated during Chess games, so the goal of this project is to try to understand better the reasons for MCTS not yet being completely general , hence identify its weaknesses and potentially address possible solutions. Specifically, we will study in depth the behaviour of MCTS as implemented by AlphaZero, understand how it can be applied to other games and whether it solves the weaknesses of standard MCTS by implementing a simpler model that resembles it, and possibly testing it on different games. A better understanding of MCTS, as also David Silver (DeepMind) pointed out, is a step ahead towards more general-purpose artificial intelligence systems.

Throughout the first 3 quarters of 2017, the price of bitcoin increased tenfold, attracting the attention of speculative investors, media and financial institutions.

The research examines investor’s motivation in order to determine the nature of the cryptocurrency, using financial modelling to explain price changes. In STATA and R, quantitative research was used in order to create a panel data model explaining the variations in price. The relative weight of explanatory variables in the regression helps to establish a framework, alternative to the Capital Asset Pricing or mean-variance valuation. Comparison of these results to existing financial asset parameters helps to establish a quantifiable classification of cryptocurrencies as a financial asset. Aiming to fill existing gap in the financial literature, the paper uses the speculative bubbles framework, especially Robert Shiller’s „Irrational Exuberance” in order to compare and contrast it with the current cryptocurrency growth. A focus is placed on analysing the role of independent, decentralised system in the current economy, emphasising the need for a better monetary system for the increasingly unequal and unstable world. Atypical changes in the price of this financial asset require a new, original framework to adequately analyze them. The conclusions of this investigation are important to hedge funds and financial institutions, deciding whether to invest in this asset, who can better predict the future growth of their investments. Moreover, it is crucial for governmental regulators, predicting the impact of their actions and aiming to increase their knowledge about social changes.

Most arguments for majority rule implicitly rest on the assumption that every citizen gets to be in the majority some of the time, so that on the whole, everyone will agree with some electoral outcomes. If some part of the population were to be persistently in the minority in every election, the claim that democracy represents all citizens equally would ring hollow. While some theorists have acknowledged that such electoral minorities could exist and thus endanger democratic legitimacy, they are generally deemed too unlikely to be a real threat.

However, this assumption has not yet been tested empirically. Furthermore, the existing literature only considers the extreme case of absolute electoral minorities (who disagree with every electoral outcome), ignoring the far more likely and yet problematic cases of people who get their way rarely or on trivial issues only.

As a response to these shortfalls of the existing work on the topic, this project aims to fill the gap. First, it will attempt to expand the definition of electoral minorities beyond absolute ones, and assess how problematic they would be for democratic legitimacy. Second, it will empirically examine the extent to which such minorities do exist in the UK by comparing voting intentions and policy interests of the electorate (using data from the British Election Study, the British Household Panel Survey and the British Social Attitude Survey) with actual electoral and policy outcomes. This would help determining whether electoral minorities ought to be taken more seriously as a threat to democratic legitimacy.

This study aims to create smart structure for soft robotics application using multi-material 3D printing method. Soft robotics are robots that can deform elastically and continuously to perform various task. A fibre reinforced soft pneumatic actuator is a matrix of elastomer that is interwoven with inextensible fibre that force the actuator to expand in certain direction. In this project, the fibre was printed via PolyJet using rigid material - Vero White in a helical pattern around the elastomer that is printed using Agilus Black. This study investigated the elongation and the twisting angles of these actuators when subjected to varying pressures and it also analysed the mechanical properties of the 3D printed actuator.