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GOVERNMENT SEEKING FEEDBACK ON ETHICS OF AI

05-04-2019
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Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology

For Australia to realise the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it’s important to embed our values in technology, and to trust in what businesses and government are developing in this space.

The Australian Government is seeking feedback to create guidelines that will ensure AI is developed and applied responsibly in Australia.

A discussion paper, Artificial Intelligence: Australia’s Ethics Framework, has been released by CSIRO’s Data61, to encourage a conversation on how the nation develops and uses AI.

The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, says AI has the potential to increase productivity, create new industries and provide more inclusive services, creating the jobs of the future.

“AI has the potential to provide real social, economic, and environmental benefits – boosting Australia’s economic growth and making direct improvements to people’s everyday lives,” she says.

“But importantly, we need to make sure people are heard about any ethical concerns they may have relating to AI in areas such as privacy, transparency, data security, accountability, and equity.

“The impact of AI is likely to be widespread and we have an imperative to ensure the best possible outcomes; while the community needs to be able to trust that AI applications are safe, secure and reliable.”

The Government is investing strategically to develop Australia’s domestic AI capability to create new jobs and open up economic opportunities, and provided more than $29.9 million in the 2018-19 budget to grow this sector and support the responsible development of AI.

This investment is only one component of broader investment, including $70 million announced in the budget to upgrade Australia’s high-performance computing facilities, helping create the right environment for our researchers to develop new technologies and algorithms.

These kinds of investments translate into real world solutions for everyday Australians, from farmers who can make better-informed agricultural decisions because of reliable land monitoring data, to potentially simplifying government payments with blockchain technology.

The Government will use the paper’s findings and the feedback received during the consultation period to develop a national AI ethics framework, including a set of principles and practical measures that organisations and individuals can use as a guide to ensure their design, development and use of AI meets community expectations.

This framework will be part of a broader approach to foster entrepreneurship and innovation, helping to grow Australia’s economy and create 1.25 million new jobs in the next five years.

Artificial Intelligence ethics were also discussed at the National Science and Technology Council’s first meeting of the year.

Consultation is open until 31 May and the discussion paper and details on how to provide feedback are available at consult.industry.gov.au.

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