Albanese Government Explores Ban on High-Risk AI Applications 

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The Albanese government in Australia is considering banning “high-risk” uses of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decision-making to address potential harms and protect the public interest. 

The government recognizes that while AI has many positive applications, such as medical image analysis and cost savings in legal services, there are risks associated with its misuse.

The potential harms of AI include the creation of deepfakes, algorithmic bias that perpetuates discrimination, and the spread of misinformation. These issues highlight the need for appropriate safeguards and regulations to ensure the responsible use of AI technologies.

A recent report emphasizes the concentration of generative AI resources in a few multinational companies, which poses risks to Australia’s sovereignty and security. The government aims to harmonize its governance approach with its trading partners to address these concerns to ensure a globally coordinated adoption of AI technologies.

The government is seeking public input through consultation to determine the criteria for banning high-risk AI applications. The goal is to strike a balance between reaping AI innovation’s benefits and ensuring these technologies’ responsible and ethical use.

In line with these efforts, the federal government has allocated $41 million to establish a National AI Centre and launch the Responsible AI Adopt program, specifically targeting small and medium enterprises. These initiatives aim to promote the development and adoption of AI technologies while ensuring adherence to responsible practices.

It is worth noting that existing laws in Australia already regulate aspects of AI, including consumer protection, online safety, privacy, and criminal laws. Recent incidents, such as the fine imposed on Trivago for algorithmic decision-making that misled consumers and the concerns raised by the eSafety commissioner regarding the potential use of generative AI for automating child grooming, highlight the need for comprehensive AI governance.

“The upside is massive, whether it’s fighting superbugs with new AI-developed antibiotics or preventing online fraud,” industry and science minister, Ed Husic said.

Labor MP Julian Hill has advocated establishing an Australian AI Commission to regulate AI and address military applications. The proposal reflects the growing recognition of the importance of AI governance and the need for dedicated oversight in this rapidly evolving field.

The government’s efforts to consider a ban on high-risk AI applications, invest in AI initiatives, and explore regulatory frameworks demonstrate a commitment to addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with AI technology. The ultimate aim is to build trust and public confidence in critical technologies while safeguarding the interests and well-being of Australians.

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