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The Australian technology sector has now become the key to the country’s economic growth and securing jobs in the upcoming period. Honorable Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews on 2 August 2019 in one of her media releases said that digital innovation is a $315 billion opportunity over the period to 2028. Australian economy would be supported by technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and big data in its future growth. Taking advantage of these opportunities will be vital in achieving the Government’s target of 1.25 million new job openings over the next 5 years. For this, the government in the past has worked with the technology sector and would continue to work in this direction with all Australians to ensure that all citizens are forward-looking, open and receptive to new challenges in technology.

In the past, the government had several rounds of meetings with the industry leaders to understand the challenges faced by them. Few challenges that came across were access to skilled workers as well as a requirement for balanced regulation. The objective of such meetings was to establish a relationship between the government and the technology sector that is mutually beneficial, and solutions focused.

G20 in Japan:

A couple of months back, Minister Karen Andrews represented the country at G20 that was held in Japan. There was a general acceptance that the digital economy, technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and data would be driving the economies of all the G20 countries in the future and it would be bringing a lot of opportunities along with certain risks. .

She finds this as an opportunity where Australia can lead in the digital economy, especially with respect to data as data forms a crucial component in the decision-making procedure. It is important to look at the issues that surround artificial intelligence, ethics, and data and how it is driving artificial intelligence.

AI ethics principles:

The ‘Artificial Intelligence Roadmap and Ethics Framework’ is a project which is jointly led by Data61’s Strategic Insight team in partnership with the Department for Innovation, Industry and Science along with the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur.

The project started last year during 2018 and an announcement was made where the AI start-up companies were asked to complete a brief survey to decide how best to aid AI startups progressing forward.

Later, on 5 April 2019, an article was published by a non-profit media outlet, ‘The Conversation’ that Artificial Intelligence in Australia needs to get ethical along with the plan. The article also got published on DATA61 on 18 April 2019.

The article highlighted the growth of Artificial Intelligence in the medical sciences. The development if AI-enabled technologies would be used for improving patient care. Another field where its application would be seen is automobile industry which will improve the safety and decrease the road toll. Automation and machine learning would also help to work smarter.

Now the question here is with respect to the basic issues which need to be addressed like:

  • How data is used to develop Artificial Intelligence?
  • Whether the AI system is fairly used?
  • Lastly, in what scenarios, one should rely on human decision making?

Based on these three questions, on 7 November 2019, a media release identified eight principles to support the ethical application as well as the development of AI in Australia. These were:

  1. Generates net benefits
  2. Do no harm
  3. Regulatory and legal compliance
  4. Transparency and explainability
  5. Contestability
  6. Privacy protection
  7. Fairness
  8. Accountability

To read more CLICK HERE.

Many businesses also stepped forward to test AI ethics principles. These were Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Microsoft, Telstra along with Flamingo AI.

Techtonic, National Summit on Artificial Intelligence.

On 15 November 2019, Hon. Karen Andrews officially opened Techtonic, the inaugural national summit on AI to bring together key AI stakeholders from across the nation to develop a robust AI ecosystem in Australia and also increase the benefits of AI for all Aussies.

Speaking to the audience, she talked about the rising concerns amongst the Aussies related to their job and the future of their family as they are still unconvinced.

She clarified with respect to jobs that the way of working would change. Now, the work will be increasing in the future because of Artificial Intelligence. AI would create more job opportunities in the future instead of destroying them.

She also stated that AI would be crucial for the government to ensure that it meets the target of creating 1.25 million jobs by 2024.

Application of AI in the upcoming period was also discussed at the summit. Some of these were:

  • Traffic Control: AI would assist daily travellers by monitoring as well as adapting traffic flow to make the journey to work and back home quicker and safer.
  • Farmers would be able to use agricultural robots who will find and get rid of invasive weeds as well as apply manures to crops.
  • Help in improving human health and make sure that the patient gets specialist care on time.
  • AI using images can detect skin cancer, which can be used to improve the survival rate for patients.
  • Rehabilitation of the patients can be monitored through AI.
  • Smart devices combined with Artificial Intelligence would support the clinician to examine the signs of early-stage heart disease.
  • AI-powered autonomous systems would help mining as well as energy corporations, through self-controlling machines can access tough environments that are not suitable for the human being.

CSIRO’s Dat61 has developed the roadmap which provides the approach taken by the Government to AI in Australia. The roadmap will lay out the way to boosting the productivity of the Australian industry and would also provide some regions of focus to advance the development as well as the acceptance of AI technologies in Australia.

The report also figure out 3 probable Artificial Intelligence specialisations for Australia which depends on:

  • Present strengths and capabilities.
  • Opportunities to answer problems.
  • Export AI-driven solutions.

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