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Businesses ready to test AI ethics principles

Some of the biggest businesses in Australia will trial a series of eight principles around artificial intelligence, developed as part of the Morrison Government’s AI Ethics Framework.

NAB, Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, Microsoft and Flamingo AI have signed up to test the principles to ensure they deliver practical benefits and translate into real world solutions.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said AI is a powerful technology that can create jobs, boost the economy and improve our quality of life and is an important part of the Government’s economic plan.

“The Morrison Government is determined to create an environment where AI helps the economy and everyday Australians to thrive. The eight AI ethics principles are just one part of this vision,” Minister Andrews said.

“We need to make sure we’re working with the business community as AI becomes more prevalent and these principles encourage organisations to strive for the best outcomes for Australia and to practice the highest standards of ethical business.

“This is essential, as we build Australians’ trust that AI systems are safe, secure, reliable and will have a positive effect on their lives.”

The eight ethics principles are:

  • Human, social and environmental wellbeing
  • Human-centred values
  • Fairness
  • Privacy protection and security
  • Reliability and safety
  • Transparency and explainability
  • Contestability
  • Accountability

“Agreeing on these principles with business, academia and the community is a big step forward in setting our shared expectations of each other in Australia’s AI future,” Minister Andrews said.

“The Government will continue to work with experts to explore the role of AI in Australia’s future and build tools to support AI development and adoption.”

The ethics framework is the outcome of extensive consultations across the country and a discussion paper released earlier in the year.

NAB Chief Data Officer Glenda Crisp said the bank is excited to be participating in the trial of AI ethics principles.

“We hope to make a meaningful contribution to the discussion, to learn more about how we can leverage AI in an ethical way in order to help deliver new and improved experiences for our customers.

“Collaborating with Government and across industry drives diversity of thinking which is vital in developing new ways of working and implementing new technologies safely.”

Telstra Chief Data Officer Noel Jarrett said Telstra is “proud to be a part of the AI ethics trial and we look forward to learning from other companies who are also involved."

"There’s no doubt that AI can improve the experiences of our customers and our employees by making things simpler and easier. We want to make sure that we’re using this technology in the right way from the start, and testing these principles will help guide us as we consider how to best use AI.”

The principles are voluntary and complement existing AI obligations and regulations.

To see how we are building AI capability in Australia through the ethics framework and other tools, visit www.industry.gov.au/ai-capability

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