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James Martin Institute guides NSW in AI development leadership

Thu, 28th Dec 2023

The James Martin Institute for Public Policy (JMI) has issued new guidance to help New South Wales (NSW) play a leading role in developing and regulating artificial intelligence. The institute's report "Leadership for Responsible AI: A Constructive Agenda for NSW," is the product of a collaborative project involving policymakers and experts, and details areas where the state can establish itself at the fore of the AI market, whilst developing public sector capabilities.

Recognised as a digital leader on a global scale, the NSW government capitalises on 41% of all Australian software and application programmers and 45% of all country's AI businesses. Developing an effective AI strategy is crucial to maintaining this edge, attracting both talent and investment for inclusive economic growth, and ensuring creditable progression that presents positive results for the state's diverse communities.

The OECD said AI has pervasive, far­-reaching and global implications that are transforming societies, economic sectors and the world of work, and are likely to increasingly do so in the future.

"Using AI safely and responsibly is a balancing act the whole world is grappling with at the moment," says The Hon. Ed Husic MP Minister for Industry and Science.

"There is an opportunity for the Parliament to lead the world and this country in the adoption of and adaptation to AI," adds The Hon. Daniel Mookhey, MP Treasurer of NSW 

However, the challenges that AI presents to rights and interests of society means that current laws and regulations may need to be modified, or new ones considered. As such, the report suggests measures to ensure AI development and usage is fair, representative, and ethically aware.

"NSW can take important steps to drive the development and use of AI for the public good," said Dr Ian Oppermann, NSW Chief Data Scientist and JMI's project partner. He believes that the project reveals the critical issues facing policymakers about AI, as well as the innovative approaches that governments at all levels can adopt to mould the market.

Libby Hackett, Chief Eexecutive Officer of JMI, says that the work they're doing on some of the most advanced policy areas powerfully demonstrates their successful collaborations with university and government partners. She adds that the NSW Government has already made significant progress in protecting its own use of AI, but believes that it's now crucial to take this further. For her, the opportunities outlined in their latest report could act as an important trigger for action, not only in NSW but across Australia and globally.

The report specifies 15 solid policy opportunities where NSW policymakers could make a great leap forward with AI, one of which is the suggestion of an Emerging Technology Commissioner's creation. It advises that managing today’s AI-related opportunities and challenges requires foresight, leadership and forward-thinking regulatory strategies, guided by the principles of ethical and responsible AI.

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