Australian Government’s interim AI response a sensible first step

January 17, 2024

The Australian Academy of Science supports the Australian Government’s interim response to the discussion paper for supporting responsible artificial intelligence (AI), including its plans to ensure AI is designed, developed and deployed safely and responsibly.

The Academy contributed advice to the National Science and Technology Council in March 2023 on the opportunities and risks of generative AI.

The Academy is pleased the government has built on the advice of the research sector in the interim response and identified legal, regulatory and governance measures that are needed across a range of portfolios.

The interim response is a sensible first step and the Academy welcomes a focus on avoiding unnecessary or disproportionate burdens for the research and development (R&D) sector, the community and regulators, as well as the express desire to balance innovation and competition with community safeguards that protect privacy, security and online safety.

The interim response identifies the need for Australia to continue to engage internationally to help shape global AI governance, and to identify opportunities to support the safe and responsible deployment of AI technologies in our region. 

Australia has the opportunity to support regional efforts to strengthen AI governance and capability via the International Science Council Regional Focal Point for Asia and the Pacific, hosted by Australia via the Academy. 

Via this network, Australia can build regional momentum behind the Bletchley Declaration, which affirms that AI should be designed, developed, deployed and used in a manner that is safe, human-centric, trustworthy and responsible.

The Academy continues to call on the Australian Government to take leadership in:

  • developing a national strategy for the uptake of AI in the science sector
  • investment in sovereign high-performance computing facilities to ensure Australia’s AI capability doesn’t rely on other nations
  • implement the UNESCO recommendation on Open Science (since AI is trained on available data, keeping scientific data and peer-reviewed publications behind paywalls impacts the ability of these systems to leverage the most reliable information).  

The Academy looks forward to continuing to convene experts and provide advice to assist the Australian Government to maximise Australia’s contribution to, and benefits from, AI. 

Appropriate AI regulation coupled with strong government support for development of local technology and companies will see Australia prosper.

Read the Academy’s submission to the consultation process.

© 2024 Australian Academy of Science