The Australian Government Is Spending $17 Million on ‘AI Adopt Centres’

The Australian Government Is Spending $17 Million on ‘AI Adopt Centres’

The Federal Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic has announced that $17 million will be allocated to the creation of five ‘AI Adopt’ Artificial Intelligence centres across Australia, as part of a push to get businesses to adopt the tech.

AIs (Artificial Intelligence) from companies like Google, with its ‘Bard’ AI, and from OpenAI, with ‘ChatGPT’, have been part of headlining tech stories over the past year. The main argument in favour of AI implementation, among most businesses, is that it could save companies time and resources, with AIs trained to produce text, images, and video that resemble works made by humans. The disadvantages include factual errors, huge environmental costs, plagiarism, and in the wrong hands, the spreading of misinformation and disinformation. We’re not terribly big fans, but there are some applications where we find use for the tech.

But with the hope of giving Australian businesses a boost, the Government has allocated $17 million to support Australian businesses in integrating “Artificial Intelligence safely into their work practices”, as per the announcement. It’s called the ‘Responsible Artificial Intelligence Adopt Program’.

“Harnessing the power of AI will enhance productivity helping to crack one of the biggest challenges facing Australia,” the Minister said.

“AI has enormous potential to support Australian businesses to gain a competitive edge in global markets.”

As part of the establishment of five AI adoption centres across the country, the Government is also taking applications from Australian businesses, industry partners, and research institutions, with the capability of training and upskilling other businesses on AI. Applications close on January 29, 2024.

The Government’s goals for the AI centres are to showcase the capabilities that AI can unlock, guide businesses on how they can efficiently and responsibly implement AI, and provide training on AI-specific skills. Businesses that are targetted in the National Reconstruction Fund will be the focus of these centres, and training will be offered without charge to eligible businesses.

The centres are intended to complement the CSIRO’s National Artificial Intelligence Centre and the Responsible AI Network.

In June, the Australian Government released a report on AI, and noted that regulation was very limited. The Government noted that AIs could encourage self-harm, create misinformation or disinformation, or create deepfakes “to influence democratic processes or cause other deceit”. Innacuricies in AI models, discrimination onset from biases in training data, and privacy concerns were also noted.

The Government urged at the time that developers consider the appropriateness of deploying an AI, or find alternative data for the AI to use in case there’d be a risk in training bias or inaccuracy. Parties like the Australian Human Rights Commission and big tech watchdog Reset Tech Australia announced their support for the development of legislation, after the Government opened submissions when it released its June report.

Which, at the end of the day, is what I’m hoping for with these AI adoption centres. AI can’t be a solution to everything it might appear to be capable of doing – AI-generated news often doesn’t pass the bullsh*t test, nor do AI-generated images.

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