AI News, ​Data61 leads new 'ethical' artificial intelligence institute

Data61, IAG, and University of Sydney launch Gradient Institute to research ethics of AI

The CSIRO’s Data61 arm has partnered with IAG and the University of Sydney to launch the not-for-profit Gradient Institute, which has been tasked with researching the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI).

“For example, in recruitment when automated systems use historical data to guide decision making they can bias against subgroups who have historically been underrepresented in certain occupations.

By embedding ethics in the creation of AI we can mitigate these biases which are evident today in industries like retail, telecommunications, and financial services.” Julie Batch, chief customer officer at IAG, said leaning into the challenges and opportunities of AI requires “considered thinking about fairness and equality”, and in turn, cross-sector collaboration.

Beyond its research, the Gradient Institute will also work with public and private sector organisations to turn its findings into policy proposals and “influence” decision makers to implement these policies, and promote an informed public debate around AI.

According to IDC, around 40 percent of spending will be on software, in particular conversational AI applications – for example personal assistants and chatbots – and deep learning and machine learning applications.

​Data61 completed 317 projects in first two years of operation

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's (CSIRO) Data61 has completed 317 research projects since it was officially formed in July 2016, with an additional 364 still flagged as in progress.

There are currently 46 active projects under the data analytics banner, which includes projects in data capture and analysis, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, text analytics, predictive analytics, and data visualisation.

The combined 83 data analytics-focused projects received a total of AU$9.8 million in funding, with government stumping up the majority -- AU$7 million -- to be used on commercialisation opportunities such as in asset monitoring and AI, and on prescriptive analytics, for example, through its retail AI play Hivery.

Decision sciences, which includes projects in predictive modelling and simulation, social media and text analytics, augmented reality and virtual reality, and risk quantification, has so far been funded with AU$12.3 million, comprised mostly of government funding.

49 of the 123 projects have been completed, with the government providing AU$17 million and international contributors providing another AU$10.7 million to explore commercialisation opportunities such as the SeL4 secure microkernel operating system, which has applications in securing defence capabilities both locally and abroad.

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