Artificial intelligence concept. Human hand and robot touching network hologram

Australia opens public consultation on banning ‘high-risk’ AI tools

Australia’s government has launched an eight-week consultation into the potential risks and benefits of the widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI).

Local regulators are seeking public opinion on whether or not a blanket ban should be imposed on high-risk AI platforms in the country. The public consultation will run until July 26, with academic and industry players expected to establish ideas with policymakers regarding AI regulation.

In a discussion paper titled “Safe and Responsible AI in Australia,” Minister for Industry and Science, Hon. Ed Husic, reiterated the government’s concerns on generative AI. Husic stated that the rogue use of technology could be seen in the meteoric rise of AI-generated fake news, deep fake, and AI chatbots encouraging suicide.

The paper expressed worry over the biases of AI models prompting the need for administrators to bolster existing regulations to govern “the safe and responsible use of AI.” Another concern is the concentration of AI technology in the hands of big tech firms based outside of the U.S., posing several risks to Australian users.

“Using AI safely and responsibly is a balancing act the whole world is grappling with at the moment,” Husic said. “The upside is massive, whether it’s fighting superbugs with new AI-developed antibiotics or preventing online fraud.”

The minister added that Australia has previously taken preemptive steps toward regulating AI. The country took the initiative following creating a collection of AI Ethics Principles serving as a blueprint for other jurisdictions to follow.

Australia’s government has since sunk $41 million out of its recent Budget for developing AI technologies in the country via its National AI Centre. To promote the ethical adoption of AI, the government launched a Responsible AI Adopt program specifically targeted at SMEs in the country.

Despite its efforts, a recent paper from The National Science and Technology Council on generative AI notes that the adoption of the technology has fallen below expectation, citing “low levels of public trust.”

AI regulation has governments on their toes

Given the increased adoption of AI tools, governments are stepping into the fray to police the industry to prevent misuse. China recently announced a blanket ban on OpenAI’s ChatGPT in favor of homegrown regenerative AI solutions.

Italy is moving closer toward banning the technology over privacy, job security, and intellectual property concerns, while the European Union scrambles for new guiding regulations.

Corporate entities are also passing internal rules prohibiting employees from using generative AI tools over security concerns, with several industries like digital currencies, finance, consumer technology, and music facing dire risks.

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