Artificial intelligence should respect human rights, diversity and privacy -- while being a far cry from Terminator-style robots -- according to new federal ethics guidelines. Technology Minister Karen Andrews will today release an eight-point guidance she wants companies to adopt in a bid to prevent people from being exploited. The guidelines stipulate all AI should benefit individuals, society and the environment. It should prevent discrimination, respect privacy and only operate in accordance with their intended purpose. The guidelines also recommend human oversight of AI always be enabled and there should be timely processes to allow people to challenge the use or output of information.
Some of the biggest businesses in Australia will trial a series of eight principles around artificial intelligence, developed as part of the Morrison Government's AI Ethics Framework. NAB, Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, Microsoft and Flamingo AI have signed up to test the principles to ensure they deliver practical benefits and translate into real world solutions. Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said AI is a powerful technology that can create jobs, boost the economy and improve our quality of life and is an important part of the Government's economic plan. "The Morrison Government is determined to create an environment where AI helps the economy and everyday Australians to thrive. The eight AI ethics principles are just one part of this vision," Minister Andrews said.
As if anyone needed reminding that a federal election looms, a war of words has broken out between the offices of Industry Minister Karen Andrews and shadow human services minister Ed Husic over a briefing on, of all things, artificial intelligence. Late last year, Mr Husic approached Ms Andrews' office seeking a briefing on the progress of an AI technology roadmap report being prepared by the CSIRO unit Data61 and the Department of Industry, and to get an understanding of the thinking in the report. The request was knocked by the Minister's office – not once but repeatedly – according to Ed Husic and he is not happy about it. These briefings are quite routine and rarely rejected, he says. While there are no specific rules around such briefings, by convention they are commonplace – although the understanding is that they are done in the background, quietly and without any resulting overtly politicisation.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology which is increasingly being utilised in society and the economy worldwide, and its implementation is planned to become more prevalent in coming years. AI is increasingly being embedded in our lives, supplementing our pervasive use of digital technologies. But this is being accompanied by disquiet over problematic and dangerous implementations of AI, or indeed, even AI itself deciding to do dangerous and problematic actions, especially in fields such as the military, medicine and criminal justice. These developments have led to concerns about whether and how AI systems adhere, and will adhere to ethical standards. These concerns have stimulated a global conversation on AI ethics, and have resulted in various actors from different countries and sectors issuing ethics and governance initiatives and guidelines for AI. Such developments form the basis for our research in this report, combining our international and interdisciplinary expertise to give an insight into what is happening in Australia, China, Europe, India and the US.
The government's peak advisory body on tech and science has turned its attention to the development of an artificial intelligence ethics framework and lifelong learning of STEM skills. The National Science and Technology Council met for the third time in Brisbane last week, after it was launched to replace the Commonwealth Science Council in February this year. The meeting was chaired by Industry Minister Karen Andrews, with education minister Dan Tehan also in attendance. Council members include Professor Genevieve Bell, Professor Barbara Howlett, Professor Debra Henly and Professor Brian Schmidt. They were briefed on the government's progress in developing a national artificial intelligence ethics framework, and the "strong engagement" from stakeholders during consultation.