Roadmap points Australia to AI specialisation

Wednesday, 20 November, 2019

Roadmap points Australia to AI specialisation

Artificial intelligence could be worth $22.17 trillion to the global economy by 2030 and technical specialisation could be Australia’s key to gaining a comparative advantage in that market, according to a new report.

The AI roadmap, developed by CSIRO’s Data61 and released by the Australian Government, outlines strategies to help Australia achieve a national AI capability that boosts industry productivity, creates jobs and economic growth, and improves quality of life for current and future generations.

According to the roadmap, Australia’s specialisation opportunities lie in health, ageing and disability; cities, towns and infrastructure; and natural resources and environment.

Australia has already shown strong capabilities in these areas, creating the bionic eye — an “advanced application of computer vision which is a field of AI research” — and the AI-driven ‘Agbot II’, the roadmap said. Adelaide-based company Cohda Wireless also supplies hardware and software that have been used in over 60% of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) trials globally.

“AI represents a significant opportunity to deliver social, environmental and economic benefits. It can boost productivity through its strong potential to enable industry to make better products [and] deliver better services faster, cheaper and safer,” CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said.

“AI is central to our increasingly data-driven world and, when combined with other digital technologies, could grow Australia's economy by $315 billion if we coordinate our AI activities nationally to accelerate research and drive scale.”

To get the full benefits of AI by 2030 and beyond, CSIRO’s Data 61 Senior Principal Scientist, Strategy And Foresight and the roadmap’s lead author, Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, said Australia needs to act on the roadmap’s recommendations now.

“AI will create more jobs than it will displace, but we’ll need to transition and upskill the existing workforce. We also need to build trust in AI and ensure it’s developed to safe and ethical standards,” Hajkowicz said.

“AI is data hungry, so we need to improve access to data and also address increasing cybersecurity privacy concerns. Greater investment in applied research and development will underpin these foundations and help us shape an AI-enabled future for the benefit of all Australians.”

Last year, CSIRO announced a $19 million investment in AI and machine learning to target AI-driven solutions for areas including food security and quality; health and wellbeing; sustainable energy and resources; resilient and valuable environments; and Australian and regional security.

CSIRO hopes the roadmap, which accompanies the ‘Artificial Intelligence: Australia’s Ethics Framework’ discussion paper published earlier this year, will help guide future AI and machine learning investment.            

Image: Australian Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews with Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Senior Principal Scientist, Strategy and Foresight, CSIRO and lead author of the AI roadmap. Courtesy CSIRO.

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