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Seeking feedback on ethics of artificial intelligence

5 April 2019

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

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

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

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, said AI had the potential to increase productivity, create new industries and provide more inclusive services, creating 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,” Minister Andrews said.

“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 Coalition Government is investing strategically to develop Australia’s domestic AI capability to create new jobs and open up economic opportunities, which is why we have provided over $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 our broader investment, including $70 million announced in the 2018–19 Budget to upgrade our 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 Coalition Government will use the paper’s findings and the feedback received during the consultation period to develop a national AI ethics framework, which will include 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 our broader approach to foster entrepreneurship and innovation, helping us grow Australia’s economy and help to 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  

Media contact: Minister Andrews' office 02 6277 7070