Thursday, 16 May 2019 02:47

Australia falling behind other countries in AI race: report Featured

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Australia falling behind other countries in AI race: report Image cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Australia is losing the global race in artificial intelligence and will miss out on future jobs without major new investment to secure its position as a leading destination for AI research and development, according to analysis by the University of Adelaide’s Australian Institute for Machine Learning.

According to the analysis, Australia’s investment in AI as a proportion of GDP is nowhere near comparable countries like South Korea, Singapore, France, Germany and Japan.

And, the research found Australia was also “miles behind” the competition in terms of institutions dedicated to AI research.

AIML director Professor Anton van den Hengel says other countries are investing billions of dollars in AI research because it is a core driver of innovation, revitalising existing industries and helping create new ones.

“Australia has a strong tradition of high-quality AI research, but cannot sustain its position globally without significant new investment and industry development,” he said.

The Institute released the data while launching its proposal for a National Centre of Excellence in Machine Learning, an innovation hub bringing together the best of Australia’s AI research groups and industry to meet the opportunities and challenges of AI technology.

The AIML has proposed direct government investment of $80 million for the first four years, with an additional $50 million funding from industry and $20 million from universities, as a foundation for further investment.

AIML says the centre, proposed by the University of Adelaide which has the largest university machine learning group in Australia, would bring together the country’s world class research groups in artificial intelligence under one roof.

“The Centre will work to foster the next generation of AI experts, working with TAFE organisations and industry across Australia to build a national curriculum for VET training and create educational modules for high schools,” Professor van den Hengel said.

“Without this investment, we will lose jobs to AI technology imported from other countries and miss the opportunity to create Australian jobs from it.

“Facebook, Google and Uber are already making large profits in Australia without employing any significant workforce or paying substantial tax. Jobs can be retained and created here if we actively participate in the new economy.

“Highly sought-after researchers will only stay in Australia if we make AI a national priority.”

 

Number of institutions in the global top ten (csrankings.com)

AI

Computer Vision

Machine Learning Theory

Natural Language Processing

Total

USA

1

5

8

6

20

China

7

1

1

2

11

Australia

1

2

 

1

4

UK

1

   

1

2

Germany

 

1

   

1

 

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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