The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), says it welcomes the interim guidance the federal government has provided to government agencies regarding the use and implementation of generative artificial intelligence (AI).
The interim guidance on government use of publicly available generative AI platforms has been developed by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) and the Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR). The AIIA notes this is interim guidance as the government seeks additional feedback, to which the AIIA will contribute.
AIIA CEO Simon Bush said: “The AIIA welcomes the interim guidance provided to government agencies. It is pleasing to see the Albanese Government continuing to work on delivering best practice for government adoption of AI technologies. AI has the possibility of revolutionising a range of government services in coming years as adoption grows. A careful and considered approach to its adoption is sensible and we welcome the iterative and principles-based approach and government should consult with industry on further guidance as the technologies mature.
“The interim guidance is restricted in scope to generative AI which means the broader suite of AI technologies such as automatic decision making (ADM) is not covered. This would mean that an agency considering using ADM for debt estimation and collection, for example, as what happened under the Robodebt scheme, would not be covered by the guidance as it is not generative AI.
“The AIIA believes that government must be a leader in best practice AI adoption and governance frameworks and has been calling on the Federal Government to develop a detailed and transparent framework that is compulsory for agencies in citizen facing use of AI that involves assessment of eligibility for services and other high-risk areas of AI usage. The interim guidance on generative AI released, whilst a welcome first step, leaves agencies to make their own decisions and the arbiter of what is acceptable.
“The AIIA notes that NSW Government’s AI Assurance Framework (that pre-dates generative AI) has a detailed checklist. The AIIA will provide feedback to support the continued safe development and adoption of AI and generative AI technologies by government agencies. Currently, it is unclear whether individual agencies have their own adoption frameworks and governance models as referred to in the interim guidance.
“More work needs to be done to ensure that mature AI frameworks are not an optional consideration but rather a compulsory check point for safe and principled adoption of AI by government organisations. We have seen with Robodebt that safeguards, governance and transparency are required and the AIIA encourages the government to more fully develop a governance framework that is compulsory and not merely guidance.
“AI offers incredible opportunities for our economy, it is important our governments develop strong frameworks that build confidence and harness these possibilities. The Navigating AI Report: A Guide to the Use and Adoption of AI the AIIA created with KPMG has already supported many businesses to look at how they use and implement AI technologies. Strong guardrails are needed for both government and business to safely adopt AI and build confidence in the community.”