Productivity Commission releases AI playbook for govt

The Productivity Commission has released a government playbook for developing regulatory protections in the AI landscape.

Productivity Commissioner Stephen King

It’s one of a suite of three papers aimed at helping governments maximise what the commission says are the potential economic benefits of artificial intelligence technology.

The Commission says AI has the potential to boost productivity in Australia – provided it’s accompanied by appropriate policy and regulation.

The paper, titled The challenges of regulating AI outlines a stepped approach to regulation focused on addressing harms as they emerge.

In it, Productivity Commissioner Stephen King warns about jumping into AI-specific laws without considering existing regulatory frameworks at both a local and global level.

“AI will likely highlight gaps in current laws and regulations that we will need to address,” he says.

“But pre-empting these gaps with overzealous lawmaking could put local policy out of step with global norms, limiting the potential productivity gains of this new technology.”

The other two papers cover how Australia can ensure it seizes the benefits of AI, and what the technology means for data policy.

Helping business transform and adapt

Australian business is already adopting AI but needs to transform core systems and adopt new tools as they emerge, Mr King says.

“Governments can support this by investing in skills and digital infrastructure and modelling best practice,” he says, as well as building public trust and establishing frameworks for data access and protections.

The Productivity Commission says Australian data is an underutilised resource which will be increasingly valuable to harness the potential of AI.

Key challenges for governments will be to improve protections and public confidence in data sharing, and to establish clear and consistent arrangements for training AI models.

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