Deloitte and IPsoft to customise AI agent Amelia for Australian market

ZDNet

Deloitte and IPsoft have signed an agreement to further develop IPsoft's cognitive platform Amelia in Australia. In July, Deloitte announced a partnership with IPsoft to roll out two of IPsoft's products to its US clients: Amelia, an AI platform similar to Amazon's Alexa, and IPcenter, an autonomic IT management platform. The companies will now be customising the Amelia platform for the Australian market. Often compared to Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa, Amelia is is touted as more expressive than her AI peers. Alan Marshall, Deloitte's Analytics and Cognitive Technology practice leader, said Amelia has a unique natural language processing capability that means she can engage in dialogues just like humans.


Uber compensation package approved by Queensland government

ZDNet

A bill to compensate taxi drivers affected by the legalisation of ride-sharing companies like Uber has passed Queensland's hung parliament late Thursday evening. In August, the government announced a AU$100 million assistance package including payments of $20,000 per taxi license, capped at two per owner, and AU$10,000 per licence for existing limousine service licence holders. As part of the package, the government also said it would invest AU$26.7 million into a hardship fund for drivers negatively impacted by the reform, which came into effect on September 5. Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe announced changes to the assistance package which include allowing compensation payments to trusts and companies that own taxi licenses, as well as sole operators such as drivers who lease a taxi off the license holder. Drivers classified as employees are excluded in the scheme. "It is expected the government will be in a position to send invitations to eligible taxi and limousine licence holders regarding the transitional assistance in December to enable payments shortly thereafter," Hinchliffe said.


The flowering of voice control leads to a crop of security holes

ZDNet

Vendors' glossy reports shower onto the desks of customers and journalists like gentle Christmas snow. But so many of these reports, like so many snowfalls, are nothing but slush. All year we've been hearing about the spreading plague of ransomware, and how the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a security nightmare. Remember the botnet made of video cameras? Vendors have been waving around phrases like "artificial intelligence" and "machine learning" and "threat intelligence sharing" like magic wands.


Turnbull government and CSIRO launch AU$200m innovation fund

ZDNet

The Turnbull government and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on Sunday launched a AU$200 million fund, as part of its National Innovation and Science Agenda, to commercialise early-stage innovations from CSIRO, universities, and other publicly-funded research bodies. While Australia is above the OECD average when it comes to publishing academic papers, it lags behind in converting innovation into jobs and income. The CSIRO Innovation Fund will help address this by supporting co-investment in new spin-out and startup companies, as well as small to medium enterprises (SMEs) looking to transform publicly-funded research into commercial products. The fund will be headed up by veteran venture capitalist and co-founder of Blackbird Ventures Bill Bartee. The government will inject AU$70 million into the joint public-private sector fund over the next 10 years, alongside AU$30 million of royalties from the CSIRO's Wi-Fi patent portfolio, and an additional AU$100 million from the private sector, which Bartee will be in charge of obtaining.


Human Services to recoup AU$4b with automated welfare overpayment system

ZDNet

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has implemented an online compliance system that is using automation to help locate funds owed to the Commonwealth. Approximately AU$4.5 million that has gone awry is being pointed to each day by the online compliance system, allowing DHS to kick off the process to reclaim the funds. Before the new system, only AU$295,000 in missing funds was highlighted every 24 hours. The system has been in operation since July and is now initiating 20,000 compliance interventions a week -- a jump from 20,000 a year previously. Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge expects the system to carry out 1.7 million compliance interventions within the next three years.