The Australian government would like feedback on the regulation of artificial intelligence and its risks

The federal government seeks feedback on mitigating potential risks from the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and creating a safe framework for their use amid growing global concerns that machine learning poses a potential existential threat to humanity.

Science and Industry Secretary Ed Husic released two discussion papers on AI this week as debate over its responsible use mounts, and said the government is taking additional steps to ensure the growth of AI in Australia is ethical.

The government’s Safe and Responsible AI in Australia Discussion Paper examines existing regulatory and governance responses in Australia and abroad, identifies potential gaps and proposes several options to strengthen the framework for safe and responsible use of AI.

The National Science and Technology Council’s second discussion paper, Rapid Response Report: Generative AI, assesses potential risks and opportunities associated with AI and provides a scientific basis for discussions on how to move forward.

“The safe and responsible use of AI is a balancing act that the whole world is currently grappling with,” said Husic.

“The benefit is huge, whether it’s fighting super germs with new antibiotics developed by AI or preventing online fraud. But as I have been saying for many years, proper safeguards are needed to ensure the safe and responsible use of AI.

“Today is about what we do next to build trust and public trust in these critical technologies.”

The government already believes in the potential of AI and has budgeted $41 million to better uptake its use in business.

But the emerging tech faces an uphill battle for support, with just a third of Australians currently willing to trust AI.

However, Simon Bush, CEO of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), warned that strict regulation applied in isolation from industry stifles innovation.

“We believe that self-applied frameworks can be effective for many existing AI use cases in sectors such as transport and health to guide the adoption of such technologies,” he said.

“We see best practice guidelines evolving through collaboration between academics and industry leaders. Government must support this work and engage industry in any potential regulatory framework.”

The AIIA recently released its Navigating AI Report: A Guide to the Use and Adoption of AI to help organizations steer the responsible and legal adoption, development, and use of AI without stifling innovation.

Bush said generative AI has potentially transformative industrial and societal benefits.

“However, it also brings with it regulatory and societal challenges, which we are embracing. Ultimately, government needs to develop its own framework for AI adoption and use, and we urge government to consider more support for this work to implement AI adoption policies and establish an AI registry to enable transparency and dispelling prejudices “We can wreak havoc where AI is deployed without creating barriers to industry growth,” he said.

Submissions on both topics are now possible until July 26th. The documents and details can be found here.