AI Regulation Plan Criticised for Ignoring Absence of AI Industry in Australia

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Experts highlight the importance of investing and embracing the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) before implementing usage and research regulations that could set Australia back from technological and economic progress.

In response to the growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) on the job market, the Australian Labor Party and trade unions are taking proactive steps to shield workers from potential job losses.

However, experts have raised concerns over Labor’s proposed AI regulation plan for ignoring that Australia lacks a substantial AI industry to regulate.

A group of AI professors from prestigious institutions, including ANU, UNSW, Melbourne University, Adelaide University, and other universities, have submitted a joint response to the government’s call for public input on AI regulation, highlighting the need for investment in domestic AI development.

The professors, collectively known as the Kingston AI Group, acknowledged the importance of adopting a balanced, risk-based approach to AI regulation, as advocated by the government. 

However, they stressed the urgency of fostering Australian AI expertise and capabilities to avoid technological dependency on foreign nations.

“Australia has only offered modest measures to support AI while other nations accelerate ahead. This represents a sovereign risk for Australia as we become increasingly dependent on technology created elsewhere,” said Kingston AI Group in their submission.

Professor Anton van den Hengel, director of applied science at Amazon and the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Augmented Reasoning, argued that the focus should shift from fearing potential AI harms to embracing the vast benefits that AI technologies can offer.

He stated, “We should be worried about the harm that it will do to our economy if we don’t adopt AI and adopt it properly.”

As the debate on AI regulation and development continues, experts emphasise the need for Australia to proactively invest in its AI capabilities to secure its technological future and remain competitive on the global stage.

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