National AI Centre goes on the road to showcase Australian artificiaI intelligence

AI, emerging technology, investments

The National AI Centre is holding a national listening tour that aims to explore the barriers and opportunities for Australia’s growing artificial intelligence ecosystem.

The tour will be headed by the new head of the National AI Centre, Stela Solar, and will span five states, during which Solar will meet with a cross-section of industry, research, and business leaders in the sector.

The tour comes with the country’s AI sector facing a number of challenges to translate its highly-lauded AI research and patent development into viable commercial impact. Lack of coordination and a shortage of talent have been cited as key challenges, with the country needing an estimated 161,000 additional skilled AI professionals by 2030.

Solar said the National AI Centre will be the focal point of Australia’s AI ecosystem and will help in establishing coordination within the sector, address barriers to entry and growth, and collectively shape Australia’s leadership in responsible and inclusive AI technology.

“The National AI Centre is designed to bring a cohesive voice and collaborative direction to Australia’s AI efforts, with the first step being our national listening tour,” Solar said. “The listening tour will help us capture as many voices as possible, their expertise and experiences, to ensure the Centre reflects the diversity of Australian AI and the real experiences the ecosystem and industry are facing.

“Australia’s experience in developing AI solutions, implementing their use, and leveraging the impact of this technology is something that should involve a wide representation of voices and perspectives,” Solar added. “As part of this listening tour, we are working to elevate those voices and get to understand the leaders who will help Australian AI accelerate.”

Solar shared that the Centre will also focus on improving AI adoption for small-to-medium enterprises.

“It is estimated AI could contribute more than $20 trillion to the global economy by 2030 and Australian businesses have the opportunity to not only benefit from adopting this innovation, but to also create AI technology,” she said. “We know many SMEs are eager to understand how AI can improve their businesses but don’t know where to start.

“Our approach at the NAIC will help SMEs with a map of high-impact use cases and the AI providers, and service options for businesses who want to take the next step towards AI adoption,” Solar added. “Over time, we want to help SMEs become more confident about the options that are available and break away from the perception that the only path to AI is to build your own. The Centre will also elevate and amplify the work already being done across the Australian AI ecosystem, connecting industry, researchers, institutes and centres with SMEs.”

The listening tour kicked off in Brisbane on 31 May and will make its way around the country, with dates set for the following cities:

  • Adelaide – 6-7 June
  • Melbourne – 9-10 June
  • Perth – 19-21 July tbc
  • Sydney – 29 July tbc

The Centre is also offering virtual sessions to the public on 21 June, 11, 14 and 26 July and 1, 4 and 11 August.

Participants can register for virtual sessions by emailing [email protected]. For more information, visit https://www.csiro.au/naic