Australia is at a crossroads with developing AI technologies, with the potential to become a leader or laggard in technical and regulatory innovation.
In a new report by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) and the University of Adelaide’s Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML), 13 of Australia’s top AI experts find that AI has the potential to augment, simplify and improve the way we live our lives.
However, to reach that point the nation urgently needs to build social license and public understanding, as well as spearhead new AI research and development activity to ensure AI technology is responsibly deployed and regulated.
‘A golden opportunity’
The current AI moment the world is experiencing is a golden opportunity for Australia to invest in its people and its technology, said ATSE CEO Kylie Walker.
“Our strong institutions, innovation ecosystem, effective governance and high rate of technology adoption position Australia to lead the world in the development of Responsible AI,” Walker said.
“The authors in this report are unanimous. Australia needs to invest in AI research and coordination between academia and industry to foster a culture of research, innovation and risk-taking.”
Walker said this culture of innovation needs to be “backed by a laser focus” on the science and technology skills that are urgently needed in the Australian workforce.
“Support for STEM education and teacher development are fundamental to create literacy about AI impacts and how it works across the wider community.”
‘Industry must prioritise AI-enabled innovation’
Professor Simon Lucey, Director of the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML), said that Australia should aim to be at the forefront of Responsible AI creation, but that industry needed to prioritise AI-enabled innovation to do so.
“Our key industry sectors are at crucial juncture where embracing AI is no longer just an option, but a necessity. That means being AI creators, not just AI users,” Professor Lucey said.
“AI capability is really centred around talented people, so Australia’s university sector has a leading role to play here. AI’s rapid growth means we need to ramp up to meet demand, but we also need new kinds of university-industry partnerships for the future.”
The original version of this article appeared as a media release from The Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.