'If we don’t lead this effort, someone else will' - SA Premier announces additional AI funding

Professor Simon Lucey, Premier Peter Malinauskas

From left to right, Rising Sun Pictures’ Tony Clark, Professor Simon Lucey, Premier of South Australia Peter Malinauskas

South Australian Premier announces additional funding for AI research, the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML)

The Honourable Peter Malinauskas, Premier of South Australia, announced on Wednesday that his government is investing an additional $6 million into artificial intelligence (AI) research and development at the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML).

The additional funding, to be matched by the University of Adelaide and dispensed over four years, will help position the new Adelaide University at the forefront of AI research nationally and provide exciting research career opportunities for South Australians in this growing and critically important area.

The Premier noted the strategic value of South Australia leading this important initiative.

‘If we don’t lead this effort, someone else will,’ he said during the funding announcement. ‘And they will reap the benefits of this technological advancement rather than the people of our state.’

‘I know there are people out there who are concerned about what AI means for their jobs and for their society,’ he continued. ‘But know this, AI is coming no matter what; and we either can lead, or we can follow. And this state chooses to lead.’

Tony Clark, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Rising Sun Pictures, an Adelaide-based visual effects studio with strong ties to AIML, echoed the Premier’s comments.

'We need to embrace this technology,' said Clark. 'Rather than fear that it's something to run away from, wrap your arms around it.'

'We (Rising Sun Pictures) originally didn't know how best to utilise [AI],' he said. 'So we worked with two doctors from AIML and using their expertise, we identified how this technology could improve workflow and results.' Rising Sun Pictures now regularly utilises machine learning in its visual effects for film and streaming and are global leaders in this field.

The Hon Susan Close MP, Deputy SA Premier and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, noted that this new funding will contribute to recruiting leadership and top AI research talent into South Australia; support AIML’s research and engineering team to develop AI-enabled products and services, automate processes and improve productivity; and establish four international exchange PhD scholarships and 16 honours/master’s degree scholarships to provide opportunities for South Australian students. 

‘The money will also be used to support small to medium businesses [to understand] how machine learning [and] AI can be integrated’ into their businesses, she said. ‘This investment in high-tech education will help to ensure South Australia has the skills it needs to undertake a range of major projects within our state but also those in other parts of the nation and overseas.’

AIML Director, Professor Simon Lucey, stressed that the funding will improve South Australia’s standing as ‘the AI state.’

‘This investment today will supercharge the AI capability that has been building here on Lot Fourteen for some time,’ he said. ‘It will allow us to bring additional top talent to the state. It will fund domestic graduate and honours students in a field that is crying out for more talent.’

‘SA is positioning itself as the go-to place for AI investment and innovation,’ said Professor Lucey. ‘This investment is not just about jobs in AI, but all of the sectors of the economy and our society that can benefit from AI. We are just at the beginning of this journey.’

Tagged in AIML, South Australia