Australia looks into mandatory guardrails to ensure safe, responsible AI

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The Australian government is considering imposing mandatory regulations for artificial intelligence development and deployment in high-risk settings in response to the Safe and Responsible AI in Australia consultation. 

The consultation revealed that while AI holds immense potential for growing Australia’s economy, the nation is seeking stronger protections that will help manage the risks brought by the emerging technology.

“Australians understand the value of artificial intelligence, but they want to see the risks identified and tackled,” said Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic. “We have heard loud and clear that Australians want stronger guardrails to manage higher-risk AI

The government’s response focuses on the use of AI in high-risk settings where harms could be difficult to reverse while ensuring that the vast majority of low-risk AI use continues to flourish largely unrestricted. 

The guardrails include possible requirements relating to testing, transparency, and accountability. 

Consultations are being conducted to develop possible mandatory guardrails for AI. However, the government said immediate actions are already being undertaken, including collaborations with industry to develop a voluntary AI Safety Standard and create options for voluntary labelling and watermarking of AI-generated materials. 

An expert advisory group is also set to be established to support the development of options for mandatory guardrails. 

Furthermore, Australia is closely monitoring how other countries are responding to the challenges of AI, including efforts in the European Union, the United States, and Canada. 

Building on its efforts at the UK AI Safety Summit in November, the Australian government said it will continue to collaborate with other countries to shape international efforts in AI regulation. 

The Australian government’s response to the Safe and Responsible AI in Australia discussion paper can be accessed on the website of the Department of Industry, Science and Resources at consult.industry.gov.au.