DIGI’s Sunita Bose Calls For Australia-First Approach To AI Regulation

DIGI’s Sunita Bose Calls For Australia-First Approach To AI Regulation

Sunita Bose, managing director of the Digitial Industry Group (DIGI) has called on the government to implement AI regulation that focuses on Australia’s “economic competitive advantage.”

DIGI, which represents the likes of Meta and Google in Australia, said in its submission that it believes the government should focus on updating existing legislation to keep a handle on AI, rather than ripping up the rulebook.

“Australia has a handful of restricted purpose-based fair use exceptions for copyright infringement which, in our view, would benefit from adjustment to ensure that Australia can take advantage of the potential benefit of AI technologies,” it said.

By way of example, Bose and the body pointed to the Copyright Act and its failure to address issues around the ownership of computer-generated works.

In its submission to the government’s inquiry on AI regulation, DIGI also pointed out that AI, despite warnings that it would destroy the fabric of human life as we know it could help in the implementation of online safety standards.

“Digital service providers are investing in research and development of innovative AI applications that can assist in the detection, removal and reporting of seriously harmful and illegal materials online, including pro-terror and child sexual abuse materials. Companies investing in these solutions need to be able to process large volumes of illegal materials, but also ‘safe’ legal materials so that the technology can learn to distinguish between the two,” the Group said.

However, herein lies a problem. The Group noted that, as it stands, it is not clear to what extent existing fair dealing exceptions would enable firms to research and develop AI tools of this nature.

A “phased” or “sectoral” approach to AI regulation would therefore be preferable, in DIGI’s estimations. This would give individual industries — and its member organisations — the leeway to move at their own speed.

“DIGI has cautioned against the establishment of a central AI regulatory authority. Similarly, we caution against the introduction of broad legislation aimed at regulating the technology and science of AI itself,” it said in the submission.

The EU’s AI regulations, it said were too broad and there was no evidence to suggest that the regulation was effective. Instead, it believes that the UK’s “pro-innovation” effort is far better as it focuses on outcomes and first considers updates to existing regulatory schemes.

However, it also noted the primacy of international coordination of AI regulation — Australia, while an island, is not immune from the changes that happen in America, Europe or Asia, in particular.

“AI technologies are being developed at a global scale. There is immense complexity and cross-economy implications to be considered in the implementation of any governance framework,” it said.

“Regulatory developments should carefully consider international partnership and relationships. The Government should consider international economic implications, including the competitiveness of Australian business and research capabilities, the ease of conducting international business, and implications with Australia’s international trade partners.”

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