Federal government seeking consultation on the ethics of AI

The federal government is seeking feedback to create guidelines that will shape how AI is developed and applied in Australia.

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

The federal government said it 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. Consultation is open until 17 May, 2019.

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

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,” 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 government has said that it is investing “strategically” to develop Australia’s domestic AI capability to create new jobs and open up economic opportunities, providing $29.9 million in the 2018-19 Budget for the sector and to support the responsible development of AI.

A further $70 million was announced in the 2018–19 Budget to upgrade high-performance computing facilities for researchers to develop new technologies and algorithms.