Australia is looking to regulate the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and is considering a ban on “high-risk” areas.
A new discussion paper released by the Federal Government yesterday identified both the risks and opportunities for AI in Australian and international environments.
There will now be a period of consultation on potential measures to regulate the technology.
The discussion paper comes amid a rapid rise in AI technologies in the last 12 months. This has been largely led by ChatGPT, a generative AI service that has spurred the rise of competitor services from global tech conglomerates.
There have been very few responses to the rise of AI at a federal level. An AI ethics framework was released in 2019 to guide the use of AI, but is a voluntary measure that doesn’t need to be adopted by businesses or governments.
The discussion paper
While AI was found to be beneficial in many lines of work, such as in hospitals and at airports, several challenges were also identified in the paper.
This included the generation of deepfakes, creating misinformation, or encouraging self-harm.
The formation of algorithmic biases that could discriminate based on sex or race was also flagged. This could, for example, prioritise men over women in job recruitment, or disproportionately impact groups underrepresented in historical databases.
Will AI be banned in Australia?
The paper outlined the possibility of banning some facial recognition programs due to privacy concerns.
The use of AI to perform ‘social scoring’ – a mode of surveillance that uses the actions of its subjects to rank them among other individuals – could also be subject to a potential ban.
The European Union has drafted legislation to ban social scoring, but it is yet to be made law.
The discussion paper comes after the CEO of the company behind ChatGPT, Sam Altman, told a U.S. Senate hearing last month that government regulation would be crucial to mitigating the risks of AI.
He said the technology could go “quite wrong”, and that they want to work with governments to ensure AI is regulated appropriately.
The Federal Opposition welcomed the discussion paper. They said that AI “represents the most significant technology development since the creation of the internet itself”.
It called for proportionate measures that don’t risk “stifling innovation”.
The Government is asking for feedback on potential responses to AI mentioned in the paper. This will be open until the end of July.