Australia’s top engineers and applied scientists welcome national discussion on regulating Artificial Intelligence

1 June 2023

230601 AI RRIF FWI

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has welcomed the Federal Government’s discussion paper on regulating AI technology as a critical step to safeguard society. 

The Academy, comprised of over 900 of Australia’s leading technologists, engineers and applied scientists, recognises that AI can deliver enormous benefits across economy and society, but we need to consciously plan to mitigate potential for harm.  

The launch of the Supporting responsible AI: discussion paper, which draws on an expert report co-led by ATSE, signals growing political leadership. Input from the breadth of Australia’s experts is now essential if the nation is to fully harness its AI opportunity.  

Kylie Walker, CEO of ATSE, said Australia has an opportunity to be a global leader in responsible AI, backed by our world-class research, existing regulatory frameworks and early adoption of AI Ethics Principles. 

“This is a critical national conversation, and we welcome the Government’s leadership in facilitating it. We must focus on both the opportunities and the risks of widespread adoption; the scope and adequacy of national planning and policies; the fitness of legal and regulatory approaches; and the implications of increasing geopolitical competition and geo-specific regulation in AI-related technologies and industries,” she said. 

“We welcome a commonsense approach to regulation that recognises the importance of these technologies and the role they can play in assisting economic productivity, health and social wellbeing. 

“It’s also critical that we examine the significant environmental cost of these technologies, especially the huge power and water requirements, and resources consumed by upgrading hardware. 

“And we need to ensure data is used ethically and follows the principles of privacy and security, as well as being mindful of Indigenous data sovereignty,” said Kylie Walker. 

To inform the Discussion Paper, ATSE, in collaboration with the Australian Council of Learned Academies, the Australian Academy of Humanities, and the Australian Academy of Science, authored a Rapid Response Information Report for Australia’s Office of the Chief Scientist 

The report demonstrated that generative AI is fundamentally and rapidly reshaping business, government and the community, and highlights the need for better understanding, integration and design of AI technology. 

Generative AI is already raising questions about opportunities and risks of widespread adoption, including its applications in cyber warfare, and the adequacy of national policies and our legal and regulatory processes, especially in a globalised world. 

ATSE looks forward to leveraging its vast network of expertise and working with the Government to support appropriate regulatory and policy responses to AI technologies. 

Notes to media: 

ATSE CEO Kylie Walker is available for interview. 

Professor Shazia Sadiq FTSE – Rapid Response Information Report co-author – is available for interview.  

Media contact: 

Edwyn Shiell – Director, Communications and Outreach | | 0402 254 968 

The Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering is a Learned Academy of independent experts helping Australians understand and use technology to solve complex problems.