Budget reveals plans to generate AI rules, restrictions

Australia will take another step towards banning the high-risk use of artificial intelligence technology in fields such as healthcare and copyright material after a $39 million funding boost.

The government revealed a series of measures involving AI technology in the federal budget on Tuesday, including plans to revamp the National AI Centre, launch an advisory body, and develop policies that would restrict its riskier applications.

The budget also revealed plans to tackle potential national security risks posed by the increasingly widespread technology.

The announcements come after the government appointed 12 experts to a advisory group earlier this year, following the release of an interim report into Safe and Responsible AI.

The $39.9 million funding package revealed in budget papers including $21.6 million to reshape the National AI Centre and to officially fund the national AI advisory group over four years.

The group’s first job will be to identify high-risk uses of AI technology in Australia and propose mandatory restrictions for its use.

It is also expected to develop standards for watermarking AI-generated content and to improve transparency around the data sources used by AI models.

Another $15 million will go towards the development of artificial intelligence policies across government agencies, including investigating existing restrictions on AI in healthcare, consumer laws, and copyright issues.

National security risks posed by AI technology will also be targeted with an additional $2.6 million over three years.

The measures are likely to be welcomed by firms within the technology industry, with AVEVA Pacific vice-president Alexey Lebedev calling for straightforward guidelines.

“Digital technologies, including AI could be worth $315 billion to the Australian economy by 2028,” he said.

“Australia’s budget can provide a clear direction and certainty on AI while helping to cement an industry here.”

The federal budget also included $288.1 million of measures to support the expansion of Digital ID across government departments, including $23.4 million to pilot the use of digital wallet technology and $5.6 million for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to oversee its privacy implications.


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


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