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Barrister, boutique firm owner, legal academics named in new AI expert group

The Albanese government has established a new Artificial Intelligence Expert Group, with lawyers from across the spectrum being appointed.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 16 February 2024 Politics
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Earlier this week, Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic (pictured) unveiled the formation of a new Artificial Intelligence Expert Group, which he said will provide advice to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources on immediate work on transparency, testing and accountability, including options for AI guardrails in high-risk settings, to help ensure AI systems are safe.

Among those appointed were barrister Angus Lang SC, who specialises in intellectual property law and AI; Dr Terri Janke, whose award-winning firm Terri Janke and Company focuses on Indigenous cultural and intellectual property; and Professor Ed Santow, who is the co-founder of the Human Technology Institute, was formerly the human rights commissioner and specialises, among other things, in AI, public law, constitutional law and anti-terrorism law.


Also appointed were Professor Jeannie Paterson of Melbourne Law School, who is the founding co-director of the Human Technology Institute; Professor Nicolas Suzor, a principal research fellow in the Queensland University of Technology’s School of Law and Digital Media Research Centre; and Professor Kimberlee Weatherall, from the University of Sydney Law School, who is a chief investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society.

The group has already started work, Minister Husic noted, having met in early February. It will serve until 30 June 2024, with the federal government currently considering longer-term arrangements as part of its work implementing the interim response to the safe and responsible AI consultation.

Minister Husic said: “This Artificial Intelligence Expert Group brings the right mix of skills to steer the formation of mandatory guardrails for high-risk AI settings. With expertise in law, ethics and technology, I’m confident this group will get the balance right.”

However, shadow minister for the digital economy Paul Fletcher said the announcement is a missed opportunity that does little to position Australia as a world leader in AI.

“The new advisory body is comprised of esteemed individuals, but how can the public and industry expect serious public policy advice to be given to government on AI when the body is scheduled to cease on 30 June 2024?

“AI will transform our economy, and it is critical that our regulations keep pace with this fast-moving and evolving technology. But what we’re seeing from Labor is an incompetent and slow government that is allowing Australia to be left behind other countries when it comes to AI,” Mr Fletcher argued.

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