Australian Govt urged to take more action on AI

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 09 April, 2019

Australian Govt urged to take more action on AI

Australia ranks second among eight Asia–Pacific markets in terms of the government’s preparedness for artificial intelligence, but more action is needed to ensure the nation remains globally competitive.

This is one of the key findings of the Salesforce AI Readiness Index, which scored Australia at 69% on the Government Readiness Index.

This places Australia behind Singapore (76%), but ahead of Hong Kong (63.4), Malaysia (52.3), India (50.2), Thailand (50.2), Indonesia (41.4) and the Philippines (38.4).

But Australian businesses are somewhat less prepared, with Australia (44.8) ranking third on the Business Readiness Index behind both Singapore (51.3) and India (45.2).

While Accenture estimates that artificial intelligence could lead to a $400 billion increase to Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2035, the report warns that Australia is facing major obstacles to achieving this growth.

These include a lack of AI-specific expertise, with nearly two-thirds of Australian organisations reporting having trouble finding suitable staff to lead AI technology integration.

Salesforce is also urging the government to work with AI experts to develop a set of AI-specific ethical principles — in line with the work being conducted by the CSIRO and its Data61 unit, and to create an AI governance framework to act as a guide for sound approaches to data management and AI governance.

The report’s findings show the Australian Government’s position in AI readiness, by and large, is favourable compared to its Asia–Pacific neighbours, yet more action is needed to ensure AI becomes a key driver of competitiveness and productivity,” Salesforce APAC Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy Sassoon Grigorian said.

“More action is needed on policy initiatives that strengthen skills, provide transparency and provide business with a guide for data management and AI governance. There is a major skills gap in attaining AI capabilities. Economies like Singapore have made it a priority and the government has provided incentives for companies to invest in these capabilities in their economy; Australia cannot take its position for granted.”

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