Oceania Government


Internet of incarceration: How AI could put an end to prisons as we know them - RN - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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Professor Hunter's team is researching an advanced form of home detention, using artificial intelligence, machine-learning algorithms and lightweight electronic sensors to monitor convicted offenders on a 24-hour basis. "We are at the point now where we can fundamentally rethink the way in which we incarcerate people," Professor Hunter says. For criminologist and prison reform advocate Yvonne Jewkes, the Cameron reform package represented an opportunity. American reform advocate Doran Larson argues the strength of such facilities is that they offer a reintegration environment for offenders.


Automated English visa test struggles to understand English

Engadget

An Irish veterinarian's application for an Australian visa has been rejected after she failed to pass an automated English proficiency test, despite completing it in her native language of... English. Despite acing the reading and writing parts of the test she didn't score highly enough on oral fluency, as it seems the machines couldn't understand her accent. The Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic is an automated system that asks applicants a number of questions and records their vocal responses which are analyzed and scored. Speaking to The Guardian, Kennedy -- who is now considering other options for staying in the county -- said: "There's obviously a flaw in their computer software when a person with perfect oral fluency cannot get enough points."


Victoria partners with Bosch for self-driving vehicle development

ZDNet

According to Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan, the vehicle under construction in Clayton, Victoria, has been designed to navigate roads with or without driver input and includes the ability to detect and avoid hazards such as pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles. In March, the South Australian government approved on-road trials of driverless cars on the state's roads after the state government and national independent road research agency ARRB Group successfully carried out the country's first driverless car trial on Adelaide's Southern Expressway. Following a test drive in the self-driving Tesla model S car, New South Wales Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts said earlier this year he intended to bring autonomous cars to the state, saying autonomous electric cars were the "future of driving" in NSW. Australia's first driverless electric shuttle then hit the roads of Perth, Western Australia in August as part of an initial trial run by the Royal Automobile Club of WA (RAC) in partnership with the state government and vehicle manufacturer Navya.


Telstra completes 4G vehicle connectivity trial

ZDNet

"While there has been a lot of focus around future transport technology, there has not been much work done to date in Australia on supporting intelligent transport systems via existing 4G mobile networks," Telstra's director of Technology Andrew Scott said. These applications included alerting a driver to roadworks ahead, giving green light priority to high-priority vehicles, and testing optimal green light timing, where the vehicle is informed of the optimal speed to approach a traffic light so that that they get a green light when they arrive, therefore allowing a more continuous flow of traffic." "Our government is striving to create an environment which nurtures companies developing autonomous technologies, including Telstra and Cohda Wireless, and this exciting initiative demonstrates the progress South Australia is making to take a share of this projected 90 billion industry." In November 2015, the South Australian government completed Australia's first driverless car trial on Adelaide's Southern Expressway in partnership with national independent road research agency ARRB Group.


Australian government to leverage British standard for smart-city planning

ZDNet

According to Hypercat, IoT is increasingly being used by smart cities to help inform decision making and improve city services including air quality, energy usage, traffic flows, and asset utilisation. "We believe the formula for establishing a world-leading smart, IoT-enabled Australian economy that drives growth and prosperity involves industry and government working together in focused sectors including smart cities," Piers Hogarth-Scott, national IoT leader of KPMG Australia, said on Tuesday. "The launch of Hypercat in Australia aims to unlock the benefits of smart cities by creating an interoperable IoT ecosystem that gives confidence to cities and local government. At a cost of AU 50 million, the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program aims to support councils across Australia to fast-track open data and innovative technology solutions to fix local problems in a bid to make cities and suburbs more liveable, sustainable, and productive.


Deakin Uni, Ytek kick off machine learning algorithm research for simulation training ZDNet

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The Australian government has been assisting Australian entrepreneurs in bringing their ideas to market through its AU 11 million landing pad initiative, which forms part of the government's AU 1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also promised prior to the federal election that if re-elected an additional AU 15 million was going to be invested to help support Australian startups through the expansion of the existing Incubator Support program, which was given AU 8 million as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda. According to the prime minister, the new investment will increase the number of startup incubators and accelerators in Australia; support the expansion of existing high-performing incubators and accelerators; attract "experts in residence" to provide specialist advice to startup businesses; and enable new and existing incubators and accelerators to access up to AU 500,000 in funding. "Incubators and accelerators assist startups with new business networks and expert advice, helping them access new sources of funding and bring innovative ideas to market sooner."


Bringing Anzac Heroes to Life with AI Chatbots on Facebook

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The Wizeline bots team has partnered News Corp Australia to launch the AnzacLive chatbot, an innovative way to share history with a modern audience. Journals from one of the soldiers, Archie Barwick, have been powered by technology. Thanks to Facebook Messenger meets Natural Language Processing, Archie is able to respond in real-time to questions and keep up with conversations. The app, built by the Wizeline bots team, is powered by Natural Language Processing technology with Wit.ai along with a database of topics based on Archie's real diary entries interpreted by the editors at News Corp Australia.


ATO steers GST legal case away from Uber

ZDNet

During the second hearing day at the Australian Federal Court, counsel representing the ATO said during his closing statement that Uber's argument that the definition of taxi travel under the GST Act is only applicable to taxis and limousines is not plausible. Uber lodged legal action against the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) back in August last year in the hope that the ATO would overturn its decision requiring Uber drivers to register for GST. However, in documents lodged to the Federal Court, Uber argued the public issue by the ATO "unfairly targets Uber driver-partners". This included the same regulatory conditions that are enforced for taxi drivers, such as driver history checks and vehicle safety checks.


Uber attempts to raise doubt around taxi definition in GST legal case

ZDNet

Counsel representing Uber specifically addressed how the GST laws have defined "taxi travel" as "transporting passengers in a taxi or limousine for fares". Uber's counsel also referenced Fine to point out that unlike taxis, where the service they provide is anonymous, UberX drivers know the details of their passengers, including their name, mobile number, and location, and are aware that Uber collects their personal information such as credit card details. However, in documents lodged to the Federal Court, Uber argued the public issue by the ATO "unfairly targets Uber driver-partners". This included the same regulatory conditions that are enforced for taxi drivers, such as driver history checks and vehicle safety checks.


Agricultural innovation committee recommends government upgrades rural telecommunications infrastructure

ZDNet

The Australian standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry recommended last week that the federal government commit to the continuation of its mobile blackspot program to lay the required infrastructure foundations for innovation in the agriculture sector. The first round of mobile blackspot funding was opened in December 2014, with Telstra and Vodafone securing AU 185 million in government funding to build or upgrade 499 mobile towers across remote areas of Australia. Still leveraging telecommunications infrastructure, the committee recommends the Australian government, in consultation with industry, investigates incentives for mobile network operators to provide roaming services between network operators in rural and remote areas. Last week, the Trade and Investment Growth Committee tabled its findings, recommending the federal government review the initiatives introduced as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda after three years of operation to determine its effectiveness and whether the programs should be expanded.