Engineers Australia backs government’s interim response for responsible AI

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Image credit: Engineers Australia

In a move applauded by Engineers Australia, the Australian Government has unveiled its Interim Response to Safe and Responsible AI, garnering support for its proactive approach to harmonising regulatory measures with innovation safeguards.

Romilly Madew, CEO of Engineers Australia, expressed the organisation’s endorsement, stating, “Engineers Australia supports the Government’s commitment to a future where AI is both a force for good and responsibly managed.”

She added, “We must pioneer a path that balances innovation with safety, ensuring AI’s benefits while protecting professionals, educators, students, and the community.”

The crux of the government’s announcement lies in ensuring the secure and responsible deployment of AI in high-risk settings, juxtaposed with facilitating its continued use in low-risk settings with minimal impediments.

Madew commended this strategy, noting, “This approach, blending regulatory and non-regulatory strategies in a risk-based framework, is not just about control – it’s about empowering responsible AI use across diverse sectors.”

A standout feature of the government’s response is the establishment of an AI expert advisory body, the organisation noted.

Engineers Australia welcomed this initiative, emphasising the need for a specialised taskforce encompassing engineering expertise crucial in the entire life cycle of AI systems – from development and implementation to integration, use, and maintenance.

Madew emphasised, “This advisory body should offer technical advice and expertise on AI development, adoption, and use, along with regulatory and non-regulatory options.”

“AI regulation should strike a balance, blending risk management and control systems. Tailoring regulation to diverse sectors, use cases, and risk profiles is crucial,” she remarked.

Engineers Australia said it commits to ongoing collaboration with government, industry, and academia, with a specific focus on crafting regulatory frameworks.

While lauding the progress, Madew underscored the importance of government collaboration with engineering professionals in designing and building AI systems.

“While this is a step in the right direction, we’d like to see the government working closely with engineering professionals on designing and building these systems with appropriate consideration of the ethics of AI systems, alongside the development of codes of conduct for professional practice,” Madew said.

“We will continue pushing for transparent and accountable AI development. Our call is for AI systems to be as reliable as they are revolutionary, ensuring they are tested, transparent, and trustworthy,” she concluded.