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AI can make society fairer, more inclusive: Australian report

2019-07-30 11:09

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SYDNEY, July 30 (Xinhua) -- The continued development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) can “enhance Australia’s well-being, lift the economy, improve environmental sustainability and create a more equitable, inclusive and fair society,” said a new report on Tuesday by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA).

Examining the challenges and opportunities of an AI-enabled future, where natural language processing, speech recognition, computer vision, machine learning and automated reasoning would allow machines, robots and computer systems to perform complex tasks that would otherwise require human cognition, the expert panel of scientists said, “With careful planning, AI offers great opportunities for Australia, provided we ensure that the use of the technology does not compromise our human values.”

Commissioned by the National Science and Technology Council with the support of The Australian Research Council, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the report titled: The Effective and Ethical Development of Artificial Intelligence: an Opportunity to Improve our Well-being, suggests that Australia should adopt a national strategy to fully capitalize on the revolutionary technology. Scientists believe that “a community awareness campaign, safe and accessible digital infrastructure, a responsive regulatory system, and a diverse and highly skilled workforce” are all things Australia will need if it wants to fully implement AI technologies across the nation in the years to come.

However, while the group were overwhelmingly hopeful about the benefits that AI can bring, they admit there is also likely to be major challenges as well.

According to the report, it’s expected that around 3.5 million workers are Down Under are “at high-risk” of being displaced due to automation by 2030. "There may be a need to rethink the context of work itself,” the report said.

“People will need to be meaningfully engaged in activities and roles independently of work.” "Income support could be considered for those displaced if they cannot be appropriately re-skilled."

For this reason, the scientists urge that the “well-being of society” should be at the center of all AI development.
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