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Australian government sinks AU$19 million into AI health research projects


The Australian government has announced it will invest AU$19 million over three years into artificial intelligence-based health research projects designed to prevent, diagnose, and treat a range of health conditions. There are five projects in total that will receive funding as part of this announcement. The Centre for Eye Research Australia and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) will each receive nearly AU$5 million for their research projects. The Centre for Eye Research Australia has developed an AI system to detect eye and cardiovascular diseases, while UNSW is focused on using AI to understand and improve the treatment of mental health, including stress, anxiety, and depression. Another AU$7 million is being put towards two projects developed by the University of Sydney (USyd).

South Australia Health introduces bot to answer COVID-19 queries


The South Australian government has rolled out a chatbot, nicknamed Zoe, to help answer COVID-19 queries. The virtual agent, developed by Adelaide-based tech firm Clevertar, has initially been designed to provide users with answers and relevant links to further information. Currently, it's able to answer a set of pre-defined questions. "Zoe was specifically implemented in response to COVID-19 to help reduce the extra pressure on South Australia's hospital switchboards and the 000 line, which experienced a surge in demand as a result of COVID-19 enquiries," a SA Health spokesperson told ZDNet. "The primary objectives were to provide the public with an additional, reliable source of COVID-19 information, and ultimately allow our operational services to focus on delivering health and emergency services."

Public Authorities as Defendants: Using Bayesian Networks to determine the Likelihood of Success for Negligence claims in the wake of Oakden Artificial Intelligence

Several countries are currently investigating issues of neglect, poor quality care and abuse in the aged care sector. In most cases it is the State who license and monitor aged care providers, which frequently introduces a serious conflict of interest because the State also operate many of the facilities where our most vulnerable peoples are cared for. Where issues are raised with the standard of care being provided, the State are seen by many as a deep-pockets defendant and become the target of high-value lawsuits. This paper draws on cases and circumstances from one jurisdiction based on the English legal tradition, Australia, and proposes a Bayesian solution capable of determining probability for success for citizen plaintiffs who bring negligence claims against a public authority defendant. Use of a Bayesian network trained on case audit data shows that even when the plaintiff case meets all requirements for a successful negligence litigation, success is not often assured. Only in around one-fifth of these cases does the plaintiff succeed against a public authority as defendant.

No large tax bill sees IBM Australia pocket AU$40m 2017 profit


IBM Australia has made its financial results for 2017 available, reporting to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission it raked in AU$40 million in after-tax profit, more than double its 2016 AU$16.8 million lull. Revenue for the 12 months to December 2017 was reported as AU$2.8 billion, a decrease from 2016's AU$3.2 billion. Receipts from customers totalled AU$2.6 billion, while AU$2.5 billion was paid out to suppliers and employees. During the 12-month period, the local arm of IBM paid AU$8.4 million in tax, almost half of the AU$13.9 IBM considers its principal continuing activities in Australia to be the provision of advanced information services, products, and technologies, including the marketing of imported and locally produced information processing equipment, software, and supplies.

Australian government invests AU$13m in medical technologies


The Australian government has announced that it is investing AU$13.3 million into medical technologies to help people living with severe mobility issues and chronic back pain. The AU$500 million Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF) will invest AU$5 million into Rex Bionics for the development of a hands-free robotic device to assist in rehabilitation; AU$5 million into Charm Informatics for data aggregation and commercialisation services for smart medical device manufacturers; and AU$3.3 million into Saluda Medical for the development of neuromodulation technologies to help sufferers of chronic back pain. Health Minister Greg Hunt said funds from the BTF -- a co-investment venture capital program in which government dollars are matched by private equity -- provides a bridge between the lab and patients. "Australia is a world leader in health and medical research, but all too often, it takes many years and offshore investment to turn these discoveries into new and better options for patients," Hunt said in a statement. "This vital funding will support researchers when they need it most -- for clinical testing, developing prototypes, and other requirements before a high-potential product or service can come on the market."

Cochlear to extract big data from hearing implants


From spray-on skin for burns victims, the electronic pacemaker, the Gardasil and Cervarix cancer vaccines, or finding the medical application of penicillin, Australia has a reputation of birthing a number of medical innovations that have changed the global healthcare industry. In 1967, Sydney-based Dr Graeme Clark began researching the possibilities of an electronic implantable hearing device, and by 1978, the first ever Cochlear implant was performed. Cochlear then celebrated its 10,000 recipient in 1994 and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) a year later. Since then, Cochlear has performed thousands of operations and switched on the sound for those previously living in silence. It has also built an impressive global presence, but with that comes dealing with the way different countries and jurisdictions want information stored.