Australia's catastrophic east coast floods have been described by the NSW premier as a "one in 1,000-year event, a term that has created a great deal of confusion. Lengthy explanations that these terms are not the same as "occurring 1,000 years apart" or "once every 1,000 years" have only added to the confusion. The simplest explanation is that the actual meaning of "one in 1,000 years" is "having a probability of 0.1 percent in any given year" (1 in 1,000), which raises the question: why don't people simply say that? The main reason is that these terms date back to a time when most people didn't think in terms of probabilities, and even those who did were confused about how they worked. The daily weather forecast includes a percentage probability of rain, and longer-term forecasts give the probabilities of higher or lower than average rainfall according to El Nino and La Nina cycles.
All New South Wales government agencies using AI will be required to meet best practice ethical requirements under the country's first mandated AI Assurance Framework, which comes into effect today. The framework, which was developed by the NSW Advisory Committee led by NSW chief data scientist Ian Oppermann, has been designed to ensure AI-based government projects are safe, ethical, and can be integrated with future technologies. It also assists agencies with risk mitigation strategies and establish clear governance and accountability measures. "From diagnosing sepsis in hospital patients to identifying drivers illegally using mobile phones while driving, the NSW government is already using AI to improve the lives of NSW residents," Oppermann said. "As the technology evolves and becomes more sophisticated, the Framework will ensure projects remain transparent and include the highest levels of privacy, security and assurance, so customers can feel even more confident when dealing with the NSW government. "Mandating the framework will ensure all NSW government services using AI are required to implement strong privacy and data management safeguards." Projects with budgets of more than AU$5 million or supported by the Digital Restart Fund will also be subject to assessment by the AI Review Committee to ensure compliance under the new mandate. The state government added the only exceptions where the AI Assurance Framework will not apply is when a project uses an AI system that is a widely available commercial application, and the solution is not being customised in any way or being used other than intended. The framework is part of the state government's AI strategy in which it has pledged that transparency will be the focus and vowed to make the state the digital capital of the southern hemisphere in the next three years. "AI stands for absolutely imperative for the new New South Wales.
Autonomous tunnel boring machines (TBM) will be used to help build two nine-kilometre rail tunnels as part of the 24-kilometre Sydney Metro West project, the New South Wales government announced on Wednesday. The autonomous machines are being built as part of an AU$2.16 billion Western Tunnelling Package that was awarded to the Gamuda Australia and Laing O'Rourke consortium, which has contracted manufacturer Herrenknecht to design, build, and deliver the machines. According to the state government, the machines will feature artificial intelligence software, developed by Gamuda, that will be used to automatically steer, operate, and monitor various TBM functions. "While an operator remains in control, the autonomous system takes on all repetitive tasks from the operator with greater accuracy," Minister for Transport David Elliot said, claiming that the use of autonomous TBMs will be an Australian first. "The technology also allows the TBMs to be more accurate and precise, reducing the time required to excavate the nine-kilometre tunnels, therefore saving project costs."
Safer and more efficient services will be delivered for NSW residents using Artificial Intelligence (AI), with a new world-leading AI Assurance Framework to come into effect in March 2022. All agencies across the NSW Government can apply the Assurance Framework to ensure increasingly sophisticated AI systems are safe, effective and delivering on state outcomes, improving the lives of people in NSW and the resilience of communities and driving the economy. NSW Government's Chief Data Scientist Dr Ian Oppermann said the Framework would ensure Government services using AI were aligned to state outcomes, easy to access and use by customers as well as being personalised and secure. "AI creates a huge opportunity to improve Government services. We are already piloting the technology with eHealth NSW to help doctors to earlier identify sepsis in patients attending emergency departments," Dr Oppermann said.
Sydney's Tech Central has welcomed Q-Ctrl, Sydney Quantum Academy, and Quantum Brilliance as the first tenants of its newest precinct known as the quantum terminal. According to the state government, the quantum terminal will be the city's "first centralised live collaboration space for researchers, developers, engineers and entrepreneurs -- all working to advance quantum technology, high performance computing, and artificial intelligence". "Quantum terminal along with the rest of Tech Central will form one of the most vibrant innovation corridors in Australia," Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney and Minister for Trade and Industry Stuart Ayres said. Alongside the opening of the quantum terminal, the NSW government announced on Monday it will invest up AU$21 million to prioritise affordable accommodation for scaleups. "From December, businesses can apply for rebates on rental and fit-out costs of up to AU$600,000 a year through the Tech Central Scaleup Accommodation Rebate," Ayres said.
Apartment building defects are not uncommon these days, but the NSW government has been developing new solutions using AI and blockchain to crackdown on this. Speaking at the 2021 digital.NSW event, Office of the NSW Building Commissioner digital director Yin Man explained how the state government has worked with KPMG, Microsoft, Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), Western Sydney University, and Mirvac to build what is being referred to as a trustworthy index, within the state government's building assurance solution. The solution, based on ASX's blockchain technology, has been designed to track a building's provenance -- from the materials that are used, the drawings of the building, and people involved in the construction -- to enable the building industry, current and prospective owners, regulators, and insurers to compare and assess the trustworthiness of different buildings. "You, as a consumer, can now see one building differentiated from another and that helps the insurance companies and the financiers as well, because at the moment, they do not want to be in the market because all the buildings look the same to them, everybody has an occupation certificate, but why are some buildings still defective as we find in our audits, and some are not," Man said. According to Man, the trustworthy index will be piloted for the next six months with a brand new Mirvac building, along with over 200 buildings where combustible cladding is being replaced.
Transport for NSW has announced it will be taking the next steps in its autonomous vehicle trial by working with driverless technology firm Motional to investigate and develop a plan for using driverless rideshare services. Transport for NSW customer strategy and technology deputy secretary Joost de Kock said the plan would lay the foundation for future robotaxi services. "We're excited to be working with Motional to start laying the foundation for a driverless future in NSW. Today's studies may very well shape how our communities move around in years to come," he said. Speaking at the virtual Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2021 on Tuesday, De Cock outlined that adopting connect autonomous vehicles would "improve the safety and efficiency of our road network and ultimately save lives".
The NSW government has announced the state will undergo a trial of home-based quarantine for people arriving in Australia based around a mobile app using geolocation and face recognition. The pilot will be jointly operated by NSW Health and NSW Police and entails a seven-day home-based quarantine program for around 175 people. It will be run across a four-week period and commence sometime this month. The app will use geolocation and face recognition technology to monitor whether a person is complying with the state's quarantine rules. It will also provide people with a testing schedule and symptom checker.
The one glaring gap in the Commonwealth government's AI strategy and action plan is a process to develop a coordinated governance framework around the development, use and procurement of AI services within commonwealth government agencies. This is where the NSW Government has taken a clear lead, setting out a mandatory customer service circular which all NSW Government agencies need to adhere to. There is practical guidance on adhering to principles, assessing risk, managing data, sourcing AI solutions, meeting legal obligations and more.
Transport for NSW (TfNSW) has announced plans to hire "hundreds" of local IT professionals across the state, with the government entity wanting work performed across "bots, apps, AI solutions, autonomous 3D mapping drones, and cybersecurity", as well as to help it transform the state's camera network. "We really encourage anyone with an interest in this field to throw their hat in the ring. There has been a 500% increase in training budgets for IT alone and at least 40% of IT jobs don't require a degree. This is about finding people from all walks of life that are eager to learn in the seat," TfNSW secretary Rob Sharp said. "This is a really exciting time to be working with Transport for NSW. At the moment we are just scratching the surface in how we are pioneering technology to deliver smart, innovative solutions that enable our people to make NSW a better place to live, work, and visit. Sharp said those with "a passion for technology" should consider working for the New South Wales government agency as it is "ready to help you develop the skills you need for a long and rewarding career in IT". According to TfNSW group chief information officer Richard Host, hiring has commenced on "hundreds" of new roles based in Sydney and regional NSW. "These roles will create opportunities and career pathways to break down barriers for people considering a career in IT," he added. "We are looking for people with passion for solving problems, working with people, and for technology.