Government responds to AI concerns

Government responds to AI concerns

Mandatory guardrails to promote the safe design, development and deployment of artificial intelligence systems are being considered following the Australian Government’s consultation on AI.

Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic said the Government had consulted with industry and the public to build the trust and transparency in AI that Australians expected.

The consultation process followed the Department of Industry, Science and Resources release of the Safe and Responsible AI in Australia discussion paper in July 2023.

While consultation would continue, the Government in January released interim responses targeted towards use of AI in high-risk settings – where harm could be difficult to reverse. The majority of low-risk AI use was expected to continue largely unimpeded.

Initial feedback on the discussion paper showed that while AI had “immense potential to improve wellbeing and grow the economy”, Australians wanted stronger protections in place to help manage the risks.

The Government is now considering changing existing laws or creating AI-specific laws to set new mandatory guardrails in high-risk settings.

Immediate actions include working with industry to develop a voluntary AI Safety Standard; options for voluntary labelling and watermarking of AI-generated materials and, establishing an expert advisory group to support guideline development.

Consideration would be given to mandatory standards promoting safe design, development and deployment of AI systems – including possible requirements on testing, transparency and accountability.

Mr Husic said Australians understood the value of artificial intelligence, but they wanted to see the risks identified and tackled. 

“We have heard loud and clear that Australians want stronger guardrails to manage higher-risk AI,” he said. 

“We want safe and responsible thinking baked in early as AI is designed, developed and deployed.”

Australia is closely monitoring how other countries are responding to the challenges of AI, including initial efforts in the EU, US and Canada. 

Building on its engagement at the UK AI Safety Summit in November, the Government will continue to work with other countries to shape international efforts in this area.

READ MORE on the Department of Industry, Science and Resources website.