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Australia: Government publishes interim response to discussion paper on AI safety

On January 17, 2024, the Department of Industry Science and Resources (DISR) published the Australian Government's interim response to the DISR consultation for their discussion paper, 'Supporting Responsible AI in Australia.' The discussion paper issued on June 1, 2023, sought views on how the Australian Government could mitigate any potential risks of artificial intelligence (AI) and support safe and responsible AI practices. In particular, the response outlines the feedback received from stakeholders and discusses the Government's strategy to ensure the safe development of AI. 

What are the key proposals in the response?

In the response the Government outlines a strategic approach to AI, balancing the technology's potential benefits with its risks. Moreover, the response emphasizes the importance of AI in driving economic growth and innovation while acknowledging the need for robust regulation, especially for high-risk applications. Recognizing the limitations of existing laws in mitigating AI-facilitated harms, the Government's response proposes considering mandatory obligations for high-risk AI systems. Notably, the response proposes a balanced, risk-based approach, involving close consultation with industry, academia, and the community, to ensure the safe and responsible development and deployment of AI in Australia.

What are the next steps?

Specifically, the response highlights that to ensure AI is designed, developed, and deployed safely and responsibly, the Government would take steps to:

  • prevent harm from occurring through testing, transparency, and accountability;
  • clarify and strengthen laws to safeguard citizens from risks and harms from AI;
  • work internationally to support the safe development and deployment of AI; and
  • maximize the benefits of AI through investment.

You can read the press release here and the response here.