The recent G20 program provided many headlines, but what was most striking was that the program was largely devoted to the digital economy. The program made clear that G20 leaders seek to capitalise on technological innovation to drive future jobs and economic growth, Darryn Lim writes.
This is confirmed by the G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration which notes, “the responsible development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) can be a driving force to help advance (sustainable development goals) and to realise a sustainable and inclusive society”.
The G20 Declaration is a timely reminder that emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are critical to the nation’s future.
It is imperative that the Australian government work with industry and build consensus and develop a robust ethics framework and policy to guide this transformative technology.
AI is already helping Australian businesses to compete in the global marketplace. Some of Australia’s leading companies, including Qantas and Cochlear, are leveraging AI to improve customer engagement and operational planning.
Economists project that AI could boost global GDP by more than AUD$21.6 trillion by 2030. More importantly to Australia, CSIRO’s Data61 notes that digital innovation could deliver AUD$315 billion in gross economic value to the nation over the next decade and reshape the Australian economy.
While the benefits of AI are well-recognised, and as companies and government bodies seek to exploit its data processing power, policy is in an early phase of development.
The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science recently initiated a national conversation on AI through a discussion paper developed by Data61, Artificial Intelligence: Australia’s Ethics Framework. This a welcome step towards building consensus on the important issue of AI ethics in Australia.
The following policy priorities should be considered by government and would add to the robustness of an AI ethics framework in Australia:
- Software security: To build trust in AI services, it is critical that software is constructed and maintained securely. Given that today’s digital economy is built upon software, and as new technologies are increasingly networked together, it is vital that security is not compromised.
- Seamless cross-border data transfers: For AI to help address global challenges, it is imperative that data be able to move freely and seamlessly across borders and between countries. Rules that limit cross-border data transfers effectively blind systems to crucial information, potentially delaying the identification of crucial trends and slowing the analysis of important breakthroughs.
- Accountability and transparent participation: Lastly, the respective roles and responsibilities of those engaged in the development, deployment, and use of AI must be clearly articulated to ensure greater accountability and a better understanding of how each stakeholder contributes to the overall ethical AI framework.
To grow Australia’s economy and solve problems that were previously impossible, we must work together to advance policies and practices that will enable us to take full advantage of emerging digital technologies such as AI.
The government’s efforts in engaging key stakeholders on an AI Ethics Framework are a welcome first step to ensuring responsible AI innovation.
The opportunities afforded by AI are vast, and continued policy development is vital.
Darryn Lim is Director, Policy – APAC at BSA
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