Australia could be an AI global leader, says CSIRO report

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A new report from CSIRO’s National AI Centre said Australia can establish itself as a global superpower in artificial intelligence by leveraging AI as commercial opportunities to support existing national industry strengths. 

The report, Australia’s Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem – Catalysing an AI Industry, was published during the nation’s first-ever AI Month. It provides the most up-to-date analysis of Australia’s AI ecosystem and how to advance it. 

According to the report, Australia produces 1.6 per cent of global AI research but only 0.2 per cent of global AI patents where the investor resides within Australia. 

Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, chief research consultant at CSIRO’s Data61 and lead author of the report, Australia can now identify and strengthen its areas of AI specialisation to enhance its global market advantage. 

“Australia’s AI ecosystem is experiencing rapid growth, specialisation and diversification, and we need to keep applying innovative AI to areas Australia already leads on a global scale,” Hajkowicz said. 

“This report identifies 31 potential application domains that can help Australia become a globally competitive AI maker and exporter, with the top five being livestock production, medical technology, horticulture, optometry, and dermatology.”   

About 544 AI companies are residing in Australia – a figure that is on par with other global AI leaders like Canada. 

This number of AI companies in the country saw a substantial increase over the last decade, with 396 openings in the past 10 years and 205 in the past five years. 

Most of these companies provide data services that develop and optimise AI capabilities, including data analysis and management. 

These companies show patterns of geographic clustering with eight hotspots across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. 

Stella Solar, director of the National AI Centre, said Australia must secure patents and commercialise and apply its world-leading research to domestic and global challenges to tap into the nation’s $13 trillion AI opportunity.  

“This could boost Australia’s international competitiveness, attract investments, foster talent growth, and fuel the development of new sectors and jobs,” Solar said. 

“AI is the lifeblood of modern innovation, and Australia has the cutting-edge research capability to create globally competitive AI solutions. We have the leading players on the court and need a gameplay that translates this capability into goals.” 

The report, commissioned by the National AI Centre, was published during Australia’s first-ever AI Month. To access the full report, visit csiro.au