Australia joins world-first artificial intelligence forum

By Shannon Jenkins

June 16, 2020


Australia has become a founding member of the world’s first forum to look at ways of ensuring that artificial intelligence is developed and used ethically.

Participating in the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) would give Australia the chance to guide responsible development of AI internationally, according to industry, science and technology minister Karen Andrews.

“One thing that’s certain is AI will shape our future and Australia needs to be part of the international work to guide its development,” she said on Tuesday.

“Membership of the GPAI will allow Australia to showcase our key achievements in AI and provide international partnership opportunities which will enhance our domestic capability.”

Other founding members include Canada, the European Union, Germany, France, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

GPAI would be supported by a secretariat, to be hosted by the OECD in Paris, and two centres of expertise would be established: one in Paris that focuses on data governance and the future of work, and a Montreal-based centre focused on responsible AI, innovation and commercialisation.

The forum would aim to ensure that AI is used responsibly, while “respecting human rights and democratic values”, according to the OECD.

“AI is a truly transformational technology that could play a catalysing role in our response to COVID-19 and other global challenges provided it is developed and used with trust, transparency and accountability,” OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría said.

“The launch of GPAI, an initiative grounded in the OECD AI Principles, marks an important step toward this goal. The OECD is looking forward to building powerful synergies between cutting-edge scientific work envisioned by GPAI and the OECD’s AI policy leadership.”

Professors Genevieve Bell, Enrico Coiera, Elanor Huntington, Toby Walsh, and Dr Paul Dalby have been selected as Australia’s first nominations to GPAI.

Andrews said Australia’s involvement in the partnership would build on the work started at last year’s national AI summit, Techtonic, where 100 AI experts discussed the challenges and opportunities of AI in Australia.

She argued AI has the power to drive productivity growth across a vast array of industries.

“The economic potential of artificial intelligence is almost limitless. This technology is developing at an incredible pace and, just a few years from now, AI will be creating jobs that we can’t even imagine yet,” she said.

“We are already harnessing AI to make our daily lives simpler and safer, from developing new diagnostic tools for doctors to using computer modelling to predict bushfire spread.”


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