Why Australia needs a national AI strategy

Summary provided by Dr Sarah Keenihan, AIML

Australia could once again have a globally competitive manufacturing sector by using automation driven by artificial intelligence (AI).

But it’s going to require strategic action to make it happen, according to a new paper released today by experts at University of Adelaide. 

The impact of AI on the future of work and workers was published by the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies (SACES) and the Australian Institute of Machine Learning (AIML). 

The authors are Professor Anton van den Hengel and Dr Paul Dalby from AIML, and SACES Research Associate Dr Andreas Cebulla. 

“AI has the potential to temper the impact of globalisation which has seen industry leaving developed countries seeking lower cost manufacturing options offshore,” the authors say.

“As AI-driven automation lowers the cost of production, Australia could once again become competitive in manufacturing goods that are currently produced cheaply elsewhere because of low wages in other countries.”

“But we will need to encourage investment in new-generation automation to take advantage of this new trade opportunity, and ensure we have the education, training and research in place to capitalise.”

The authors of the Economic Issues paper propose a National AI Strategy be established by a panel of experts with a goal “to build on our existing expertise and provide the impetus to successfully transition Australia to an AI-enabled, 21st century economy.” 

“Australia urgently needs a formal, national strategy for Artificial Intelligence to ensure that we are net beneficiaries and not simply powerless recipients of this new and potentially disruptive technology,” they write. 

The authors also identify risks associated with the cost and training required to maximise the effectiveness of AI, and potential ethical dilemmas associated with its use.

“AI tools are only as ‘fair’ and socially acceptable at our understanding of our own biases as we program the software. Progress is being made, but there’s still some way to go,” they say. 

Read more highlights here, or the full paper here.

Tagged in AI, Government, strategy