South Australia’s defence, space and food and wine industries provide a unique opportunity to engage with AI development, and previous investments in the Australian Institute of Machine Learning and Lot Fourteen have positioned the state well to take up these opportunities. Australians are supportive of the potential of AI, with 69% believing that AI will have a net positive impact on the nation (Selwyn et al., 2020).
However, unlike many traditional industries, AI development requires comparatively lower upfront capital and is less constrained by geographical factors (e.g. the location of resources), allowing the sector to quickly move and adapt to ever changing market conditions. The South Australian Government must ensure that a strong AI ecosystem and talent pool is available to ensure South Australia can retain a competitive and innovative edge.
AI systems, like all new technologies, also present challenges. A lack of user familiarity with AI systems and AI’s overconfidence in its answers risks users relying too heavily on AI decision making, without appropriate checks and oversight. Biases in training data and violations of intellectual property rights are emerging issues that must be managed. In some instances, AI raises issues around privacy and civil liberties that must be acknowledged and potentially regulated. In a responsible democracy, users should be aware of these risks and understand how to use AI ethically to ensure they mitigated. AI should only be used to provide and support government services when its use meets community expectations and has demonstrable value.
ATSE has previously worked with the Australian Government through the National Science and Technology Council on a rapid report on generative AI and has provided submissions to the Australian Government on generative AI in the Australian education system, safe and responsible AI use and the National Robotics Strategy. ATSE makes the following recommendations for the South Australian Government’s approach to AI:
Recommendation 1: Invest in AI research and development for critical South Australian industries, including defence, space, and food and wine.
Recommendation 2: Provide professional development opportunities, supported by professional development leave, to teach existing educators how to engage with AI both inside and outside the classroom.
Recommendation 3: Support investment in cost-effective and clinically meaningful AI and robotics for state managed hospitals and health care providers
Recommendation 4: Develop and provide ethics and AI use training for all members of the South Australian public service who interact with AI systems that support decision making.
Recommendation 5: Require regular reporting and monitoring of AI-supported decisions made by government.