The effective and ethical development of Artificial Intelligence: an opportunity to improve our wellbeing

Paper by Toby Walsh, Neil Levy, Genevieve Bell, Anthony Elliott, James Maclaurin, Iven Mareels, Fiona Woods: “As Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes more advanced its applications will become increasingly complex and will find their place in homes, work places and cities.

AI offers broad-reaching opportunities, but uptake also carries serious implications for human capital, social inclusion, privacy and cultural values to name a few. These must be considered to pre-empt responsible deployment.

This project examined the potential that Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have in enhancing Australia’s wellbeing, lifting the economy, improving environmental sustainability and creating a more equitable, inclusive and fair society. Placing society at the core of AI development, the report analyses the opportunities, challenges and prospects that AI technologies present, and explores considerations such as workforce, education, human rights and our regulatory environment.

Key findings:

  1. AI offers major opportunities to improve our economic, societal and environmental wellbeing, while also presenting potentially significant global risks, including technological unemployment and the use of lethal autonomous weapons. Further development of AI must be directed to allow well-considered implementation that supports our society in becoming what we would like it to be – one centred on improving prosperity, reducing inequity and achieving continued betterment.
  2. Proactive engagement, consultation and ongoing communication with the public about the changes and effects of AI will be essential for building community awareness. Earning public trust will be critical to enable acceptance and uptake of the technology.
  3. The application of AI is growing rapidly. Ensuring its continued safe and appropriate development will be dependent on strong governance and a responsive regulatory system that encourages innovation. It will also be important to engender public confidence that the goods and services driven by AI are at, or above, benchmark standards and preserve the values that society seeks.
  4. AI is enabled by access to data. To support successful implementation of AI, there is a need for effective digital infrastructure, including data centres and structures for data sharing, that makes AI secure, trusted and accessible, particularly for rural and remote populations. If such essential infrastructure is not carefully and appropriately developed, the advancement of AI and the immense benefits it offers will be diminished.
  5. Successful development and implementation of AI will require a broad range of new skills and enhanced capabilities that span the humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS) and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Building a talent base and establishing an adaptable and skilled workforce for the future will need education programs that start in early childhood and continue throughout working life and a supportive immigration policy.
  6. An independently led AI body that brings stakeholders together from government, academia and the public and private sectors would provide a critical mass of skills and institutional leadership to develop AI technologies, as well as promote engagement with international initiatives and to develop appropriate ethical frameworks….(More)”.