Labor pledges funding for AI centre

Unveils $3m policy to establish National Centre of AI Excellence

A federal Labor government will spend $3 million to help launch a National Centre of AI Excellence.

The shadow minister for the digital economy, Ed Husic, unveiled the new policy today in a speech at the AFR Innovation Summit in Sydney.

Other countries have wasted little time recognising the potential of AI, Husic said in remarks prepared for the summit.

“For example, in our own neighbourhood China is muscling up to become an AI leader by 2030 - and it sees a $1 trillion industry emerging as a result of these plans.

“Within a nation that reportedly has as many AI researchers as France, we have the Australian brains that can make AI work for us.”

The centre would support the development of an AI lab that would champion the development of ethical AI, the Labor MP said, and would launch Australia’s first AI accelerator program for industry.

“It will advance the generation of new jobs and think deeply about how to help people manage the impact of technology on the world of work,” Husic said.

State and territory governments would be invited to support and work with the new centre.

“It will band together with the thinking and effort currently being dedicated to AI development and application in different parts of the country and help provide unified direction,” Husic said.

“It will think about the collaboration we can strike up with ASEAN neighbours thinking deeply about how technology will affect their economies.”

The federal government’s 2018-19 budget earmarked $29.9 million to strengthen the nation’s AI and machine learning capabilities.

The government has said it will fund the development of a “technology roadmap” and “standards framework” for AI as well as a national AI Ethics Framework.

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Tags digital economyLabor PartyEd Husicartificial intelligence (AI)

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