Federal government to trial generative AI

Australian Computer Society

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 22 November, 2023

Federal government to trial generative AI

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has revealed that the federal government will soon start trialling generative AI in collaboration with Microsoft.

Speaking on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting last week, Albanese said the government plans to conduct a six-month trial of Microsoft 365 Copilot, becoming one of the first governments in the world to deploy generative AI. Through the trial, the Australian Public Service (APS) will be able to trial new ways to innovate and enhance productivity through the use of the technology tools. The trial will run from January to June next year.

Microsoft has committed to providing digital training to help APS staff develop their AI skills and literacy, Albanese revealed.

“By strengthening our partnership with Microsoft, we are charting a course for the future of public service — one where generative AI is used responsibly to enhance the work of the APS in delivering for Australians without compromising on safety,” he said.

Following the trial, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) will evaluate APS staff’s experience with the technology to assess opportunities and report its feedback to the government.

The announcement follows the joint establishment by the DTA and the Department of Industry, Science and Resources of an AI Taskforce, and the trial will be rolled out based on the taskforce’s guidance for public service on the use of generative AI.

Microsoft has recently committed to investing $5 billion in Australia in areas including expanding its hyperscale cloud computing and AI infrastructure over the next two years to grow its data centre footprint in the nation from 20 to 29 sites across Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

Microsoft Copilot is already being trialled by Australian companies including AGL, Bupa and NAB.

Image caption: iStock.com/dem10

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