National centre to further Australia’s AI goals

By Melissa Coade

Wednesday December 15, 2021

Melissa Price
Defence industry minister Melissa Price. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

A new artificial intelligence (AI) centre has been launched by the federal government as part of a $124.1 million AI action plan.

On Tuesday, science and technology minister Melissa Price issued a statement that said the new centre would harness the collective ‘capabilities, talent and resources to be developers’ of new AI products and also encourage local businesses to be early adopters.

“This investment will strengthen Australia’s ability, lift our global competitiveness through AI, and attract new investment and world-leading specialists,” Price said.

“It will unlock the potential of AI and create new opportunities for businesses to access critical AI expertise and capabilities.”

The centre will be based within the specialist data and digital arm of the CSIRO, Data61.

CSIRO CEO Dr Larry Marshall described the next ‘big breakthrough’ in AI as a race to see what large-scale solution could be found to solve key challenges. 

US-based Australian Stela Solar, Microsoft’s global head of AI solution sales and strategy, will be returning home to lead the national centre as its new director, he added.

“Stela has the vision and industry knowledge to work with CSIRO to continue bridging the gap between industry and our world-leading AI specialists,” Marshall said. 

The government is hoping to tap into AI’s forecasted contributions to the global economy by 2030, estimated to reach more than $20 trillion over the next 10 years.

The CSIRO will administer $47.3 million worth of scholarship programs for AI and emerging technologies on behalf of the federal government under its AI action plan and the digital economy strategy

“The National Artificial Intelligence Centre will also help address barriers that small and medium enterprises face in developing AI and other emerging technologies by connecting business with the talent, knowledge and tools to succeed,” Price said.


Government launches first AI action plan

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