New e-book to help inform public sector of AI impacts

Wednesday, 04 September, 2019

New e-book to help inform public sector of AI impacts

With the public sector increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to carry out its functions, develop and inform policy and deliver services to its citizens, it’s critical the sector understands the technologies and the implications of using them.

To help this, the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner released an e-book last Friday, titled Closer to the Machine: Technical, social and legal aspects of AI.

The e-book was developed in collaboration with eight experts, including Professors Toby Walsh, Richard Nock and Margaret Jackson, Associate Professor Ben Rubinstein and Katie Miller of the University of New South Wales, Australian National University, RMIT, University of Melbourne and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission respectively. Profs Walsh and Nock also work at CSIRO’s Data 61.

“How governments and regulators respond to technological and social developments in AI will have a large and lasting impact on society,” Victorian Information Commissioner Sven Bluemmel said.

“We need to encourage worthwhile technological innovation, but we need to do so with our eyes open.”

The book includes chapters on understanding AI; discrimination, bias and inequality in AI; algorithmic transparency and decision-making accountability; AI in the public interest; data security and AI; and regulating AI.

Walsh added that “AI has the potential both to improve and to hurt people’s privacy”.

“To truly understand the opportunities and risks, you need to understand what AI is, not what Hollywood would have you believe it is,” he said.

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