We've got the roads, the rail and the airport to keep growing this nation, keep getting those products out of the warehouses and into people's shops and into people's homes," he said. Amazon's new hub is a "boost for this community," said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. "People won't need to travel those longer distances to get the best jobs available. They'll be able to live and work near their communities, which is exactly what we want," Berejiklian said. Other retailers in Australia are gearing up for an increase in automation in their own logistics.
For better or worse, there's a good chance your current love life owes something to automation. Even if you're just hooking up with the occasional Tinder fling (which if you are, no judgment), you're still turning to Tinder's black-box algorithms to pick out that fling for you before turning to more black-box algorithms to pick out the best dingy bar to meet them at before turning to more black-box algorithms to figure out what, exactly, should be your date night lewk. If things get serious further down the line, you might turn to another black-box algorithm to plan your entire damn wedding for you. And if it turns out you got married for all the wrong reasons, it turns out there's another set of black boxes you can plug your details into to settle the details of your divorce. Known as "amica," the service was rolled out yesterday by the Australian government as a way to let soon-to-be-exes "make parenting arrangements" and "divide their money and property" without having to go through the hassle of hiring a lawyer to do the heavy lifting.
In a bid to protect beachgoers from the animals that live in the water they're entering, the New South Wales government will spend AU$8 million on a new strategy that includes a fleet of shark-spotting drones to patrol the state's coastline. Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall is calling the strategy "shark management" and said it is based on five years of scientific research into shark behaviour and the most effective ways to protect beachgoers. "As a government, our number one priority is keeping people at our beaches safe and that's why we're rolling out a revamped strategy to reduce the risk of shark attacks," Marshall said on Wednesday. "Our world-leading research showed SMART drumlines and drones are the most effective detection and surveillance tools." The government, in partnership with Surf Life Saving NSW, will deploy new drones at 34 beaches across the state and deploy 35 SMART drumlines in locations deemed high-risk along the state's north coast.
The Australian government has introduced a new online service to help separating couples work out parenting arrangements, how to divide assets, and how agreements are recorded. Developed by the National Legal Aid (NLA), with AU$3 million in funding from the Australian government, the tool, known as Amica, uses so-called artificial intelligence technology to suggest how couples could split their assets by taking into account their circumstances, the kinds of agreements reached by couples in similar situations, and how courts have handled similar disputes. Attorney-General Christian Porter said Amica would enable users to negotiate and communicate online with their former partner at their own pace. "Amica will be a valuable tool to help many couples resolve their disputes between themselves and avoid court proceedings," he said. The federal government said Amica is suitable for couples whose relationship is "relatively amicable", and could also be used by separating parents to develop a parenting plan for their children.
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).
When Lauren Dry heard last year that facial recognition cameras were being trialled in the suburb of East Perth, she thought it was a joke. "I just thought to myself: What do you mean facial recognition cameras, that's sci-fi! That doesn't happen in Perth," she told 7.30. "And I looked into it and I was, like, this is real." Ms Dry enjoys a quiet life at home with her young family in Perth's leafy suburbs.
Australia's new biometric system is now live. It will be used by the Department of Home Affairs for visa and border processing "to secure Australia's borders and facilitate the flow of legitimate travellers". The Enterprise Biometric Identification Services (EBIS) system is based on the Unisys Stealth(identity) multi-factor identity management and authentication solution and uses identity solutions firm Idemia's facial and fingerprint recognition algorithms. "EBIS will be used by the department to match the facial images and fingerprints of people including those wishing to travel to Australia such as visa applicants and the facial images for citizenship applicants," Unisys said in a statement. "The system simultaneously facilitates the processing of legitimate travellers and is designed to support anticipated growth in visa applications, border clearances, and applications for citizenship over the next 10 years."
The Australian arm of IBM has made its financial results for 2019 available, reporting net profit of AU$109 million, slightly down from the AU$119 million made a year prior. Total revenue for the year, however, decreased by over AU$300 million to just shy of AU$2.6 billion, the cost of sales was reduced by around the same amount from AU$2.25 billion to AU$1.93 billion, while the company's selling, general, and administrative expenses remained steady at AU$453 million. All of IBM Australia's segments submitted weaker revenue across the board year on year. This consisted of a AU$1.04 billion contribution from its global technology services, down from AU$1.16 billion; AU$622 million from its cloud and cognitive software, compared to AU$726.7 million; global business services chipped in AU$33 million less with AU$503 million in revenue; intercompany services and sales provided AU$299 million, AU$15 million less year on year; while its systems sales earned AU$111 million, a AU$61 million drop from the year prior. Tax-wise, IBM Australia decreased its income tax payments from AU$52 million last year to AU$41.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.
The University of South Australia (UniSA) and the University of Wollongong (UOW) will jointly conduct research into new data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities for the Department of Defence. The two Australian universities have signed a memorandum of understanding to deliver new advances using AI and data analytics in the area of informed decision-making and the development of goal-oriented autonomous systems as part of the agreement. Specifically, the universities will focus on developing: High-level interactions between Defence systems to support battlefield decision making; autonomous systems that can think for themselves and operate in support of mission goals; information ecosystems that allow the integrated management of digital twins across the Defence asset lifecycle; self-aware software and cyber-physical systems that can autonomously assess mission alternatives and support high pressure, rapid decision making; and AI to support data analysis of the location and behavioural patterns of terrorist cells or adversary forces. UniSA defence and space director Matt Opie said combining the expertise of both universities would improve the quality, depth, and scope of the research delivered to Defence. "UniSA has key research capabilities in information ecosystems, data analytics, and the internet of military things to support a range of defence force requirements from battlefield decision making to military intelligence support systems," Opie said.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt has denied state health officials are unable to access COVIDSafe app data to perform coronavirus contact tracing. During a press conference on Wednesday, Hunt was asked if reports, originally from The Guardian, that New South Wales Health officials have been unable to access the data for contact tracing were true. It was reported that despite the app being live for nearly a month and state officials having received training on how to use the data, they were yet to get their hands on it. In a statement, NSW Health said that while it could confirm the COVIDSafe app is working, data from it has reflected details already obtained by the state's own dedicated contact tracing team. "As recent positive cases in NSW have been in hotel quarantine, they have not generated community contacts, so even our own tracing efforts have been unnecessary," a spokesperson said.