Australia AI Strategy

2018-2019 Australian budget: Australian Technology and Science Growth Plan — building Australia’s Artificial Intelligence capability to support business

Overview of the strategy

Australia’s national AI strategy comes from their budget for 2018-2019.
The Government will provide $29.9 million over four years to build AI capabilities and support businesses.

This measure supports business innovation in sectors such as digital health, digital agriculture, energy, mining, and cybersecurity through: 

  • Funding for the Cooperative Research Centers Program to support projects in AI and ML
  • Funding for AI and ML-focused PhD scholarships and school-related learning to address skill gaps
  • The development of a Technology Roadmap, Standards Framework, and a national AI Ethics Framework to identify global opportunities and guide future investments.

Data governance in the strategy

  • Does the AI plan mention data governance?

Yes; the fifth section, Data (pg. 33), covers data governance. 

  • Does the AI plan discuss open public data?

Yes; the Government will increase the availability of high-quality, well-managed data by:
– Working with industry to identify valuable public datasets
– Providing open access to spatial data
– Providing funding to governments, businesses, researchers, and individuals to access standardized satellite imagery data
– Implementing a framework to guide use of health records
– Appointing a National Data Commissioner with a mandate to promote greater use of data
– Establishing an Accredited Data Authority to support efficient and safe sharing of data
– Establishing a National Data Advisory Council to advise on ethical data use, community expectations, technical best practices, and international developments

  • Does the AI plan discuss proprietary data?

Yes; strategy suggests that Australia needs to develop ways to account for data as a business asset. 

  • Does the AI plan discuss personal data?

Yes; the strategy suggests:
– Implementing a Consumer Data Right to give customers greater control over their data and transaction activities
– Developing an ethical framework in partnership with industry and research organizations around data use in AI and ML
– Delivering legislative reforms around the sharing of public data to protect privacy
– Providing advice to government agencies with regard to privacy law
– Shaping international rules and standards around data governance

  • Does the AI plan discuss the mixing of data (hybrid)?

No; however, the Productivity Commission released the report, Data Availability and Use, which addresses the risks of personal identification that can increase with the linkage of separate datasets about an individual.

  • Has the government consulted with the public on its AI strategy?

Yes; In July 2018, the Australian government released an issues paper for consultation on a Data Sharing and Release Bill which aims to balance sharing data held by the government with appropriate risk management.