Latest News, Research, Technology

New report maps the potential of foundational AI tech in Australia

A new report from The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) provides an overview of how Australia can utilise AI foundation models for its benefit.

According to CSIRO foundational models are based on vast amounts of data and can perform a wide range of complex and generalised tasks that could boost Australia’s productivity, bolster its economy, and transform its industries.

AI products such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Copilot and Google’s Gemini are evidence of these foundational models.

Lead author of the recent report Dr Stefan Hajkowicz said localising this global technology would improve a broad spectrum of Australian industries and services.

“The speed, power, and colossal scale of the data analysis they can achieve has the potential to help us solve our greatest challenges, boost productivity and save lives.

“A foundation model for healthcare for example could help us untangle complex, hidden relationships in patients’ health records, helping us reduce the 140,000+ medical misdiagnoses in Australia each year due to human error,” said Hajkowicz .

CSIRO’s digital, national facilities & collections executive director Professor Elanor Huntington said other benefits include developing public sector AI models, democratising access to high-performance computing, sharing datasets, promoting skills uplift, as well as fostering international collaborations.

At least 125 foundation models have been developed worldwide over the past few years with most coming from private sector technology companies in the United States, China, and Europe.

Despite the existence of established foreign models, Huntington said building Australia’s sovereign capability in this new class of infrastructure requires the country to resist them.

“While there are significant benefits to fine-tuning existing models in terms of cost and the speed of innovation, using foreign models poses security and reliability risks.

“It may also result in tools that aren’t culturally appropriate in an Australian context, or that don’t realise the benefits for our workers that we want to see,” she said.

Send this to a friend