In a move to bolster oversight and address the challenges posed by artificial intelligence (AI), the Australian government has announced the establishment of an advisory body.

The nation joins a growing global trend in enhancing regulatory frameworks for the burgeoning technology.

Australia’s Science and Industry Minister, Ed Husic, outlined the government’s commitment to collaborating with industry bodies to introduce a set of guidelines.

These guidelines include urging technology companies to label and watermark content produced by AI. Husic emphasised that while AI is anticipated to contribute to economic growth, its application in business remains inconsistent.

Australia, having established the world’s first eSafety Commissioner in 2015, acknowledged the need to catch-up with some other nations in regulating AI.

The initial set of guidelines proposed by the government will be voluntary, differing from the European Union’s mandatory regulations for technology companies.

Despite a delayed initiation into AI regulation, Australia opened a consultation on the matter last year, garnering over 500 responses from various stakeholders.

In its interim response, the government aims to categorise AI applications into designated low-risk and high-risk areas. Examples of low-risk include spam email filtering, while high-risk encompasses the creation of manipulated content, commonly referred to as deep fakes.

The government is set to release a comprehensive response to the consultation later this year, outlining its strategy for navigating the evolving landscape of AI.

The UK government launched a similar £2m AI advisory scheme for British businesses in October 2023.

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As part of the scheme, businesses will be offered tailored advice on how to integrate AI, as well as clear instructions on how to meet AI requirements and legislation. 

The United Nations also launched a 39-member advisory body to address issues in the international governance of AI, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced in October 2023.

Members include tech company executives, government officials, and academics from multiple countries, including Spain, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Japan.

The UN AI advisory body plans to release preliminary recommendations by the end of the current year, with final recommendations scheduled for mid-2024.