A new report is calling for Australia to play a bigger role in the technologies attached to the artificial intelligence (AI) space if it wants to remain competitive on the international stage.
A 42 page report released on Thursday (March 12) by Standards Australia, a national standards body, lays out a path toward ensuring Australian companies and organizations can influence the global development of AI standards.
Over AU$86 billion has been spent on AI programs and activities by the world’s 14 most advanced economies, the report reads, and Australia could play an important part in the international development and deployment of AI tech.
The report states that creating a set of standards for AI will become increasingly important as the technology is used in more organizations across the world. The study also discusses the importance of establishing common building blocks and risk management frameworks.
Being a part of the global AI movement will protect the country’s intellectual property and position in the international tech world, the report explains, especially since up to 80 percent of global trade — worth US$4 trillion a year — is affected by standards or technical regulations.
“Australia is an outwardly-facing trade-dependent nation. To responsibly share, and protect, our ideas, our products and our services, we need to act in a strategic and considered way globally,” it reads.
One of the report’s recommendations for increasing Australia’s presence in the international AI space is for the country to nominate experts to participate in the global effort to set the ground rules of AI use, while also vocalizing the nation’s concerns about the tech, some of which include the impact of AI on work, social inclusion and opportunity.
“AI is an exciting technology with a growing future in the Australian and global market,” Adrian O’Connell, CEO of Standards Australia, said in a release. “Through standards we believe we can help build confidence and safe-guard against the irresponsible use of this technology and its data.”
According to the report, Australia needs to have representation on the joint technical committee of the International Organisation for Standardisation and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for the protection of Australia’s economic interests in the development of global AI standards.
The IEC has previously done work to support the standardization of AI, publishing a whitepaper in 2018 about the technical and social issues that need to be addressed with the rise of the technology.
Other recommendations include allowing Australian stakeholders to voice their concerns about inclusion through the Standards Australia AI Committee and urging the Australian government to support the creation of a “security-by-design initiative” that leverages the existing standards for AI in the market while supporting Australian interests.
The emerging technology is positioned to be big business, according to a study from PricewaterhouseCoopers that indicates AI could add up to US$15.7 trillion to the global economy in 2030.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Danielle Edwards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.