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Towards an Artificial Intelligence Ethics Framework

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News

7 November 2019

AI is a powerful and transformative technology. It holds enormous potential to provide real social, economic and environmental benefits. Powered by algorithms and data, AI systems are increasingly helping decide what happens in people’s lives. AI can take advantage of the ever-increasing amounts of data we generate to make those decisions faster and more consistently than a human.

Why Australia needs an AI Ethics Framework

Using AI has many potential benefits, but it can come with risks. These include risks relating to the autonomy of individuals, discrimination, transparency and accountability for the outcomes of AI systems, as well as privacy and security.

Some of the risks relating to AI systems clearly also apply to many other technologies. In the case of AI, however, those risks are often heightened due to the potential impact of AI systems on society and the environment.

We need to think carefully about how to manage those risks in an appropriate and proportionate manner. It is important to foster public trust and enable adoption and deployment of AI, in ways that will enable continued innovation of AI.

In particular, the Australian Government wants to ensure that:

  • Australian citizens can trust that government and business are using AI to provide better and more inclusive products and services
  • businesses have the confidence to develop and implement AI technologies, and encourage further investment

To help achieve this, the government is developing an AI Ethics Framework to guide businesses and governments looking to design, develop and implement AI in Australia.

Developing the framework

The government has taken the first step in building this trust by releasing Australia’s AI Ethics Principles.

The principles were developed following consultations across the country with representatives from business, academia and the community sector.

The framework is a dynamic product. We will continue to expand and develop it collaboratively to ensure it remains relevant as AI technologies and our society’s views of AI evolve over time.

Next steps

We are developing further guidance to help organisations apply the principles in their work.

We are piloting the approach with a small number of organisations. We are keen to hear from any other organisations applying the AI ethics principles. Let us know your feedback by emailing Artificial.Intelligence@industry.gov.au

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