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AI Safety Commissioner

Overview

The Report recommends the creation of an AI Safety Commissioner to support regulators, policy makers, government and business in applying laws and other standards for AI-informed decision making. Government agencies and the private sector are often unclear on how to develop and use AI lawfully, ethically and in conformity with human rights.

Regulators face challenges in fulfilling their functions as the bodies they regulate make important changes in how they operate.

Legislators and policy makers are under unprecedented pressure to ensure Australia has the right law and policy settings to address risks and take opportunities connected to the rise of AI.

The unprecedented rise in AI presents a once-in-a-generation challenge to develop and apply regulation that supports positive innovation, while addressing risks of harm.

An AI Safety Commissioner would provide technical expertise and capacity building. As an independent statutory office that champions the public interest, including human rights, an AI Safety Commissioner could help build public trust in the safe use of AI.

Source: UQ & KPMG, Trust in Artificial Intelligence, 2020

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Key messages

  • Regulators, government and business need expert and independent guidance on the use of AI.
  • Public trust in AI is low.
  • Australians need to be able to trust AI if we want to enjoy its benefits.

Recommendations

  • Recommendation 22: AI Safety Commissioner

    The Australian Government should establish an AI Safety Commissioner as an independent statutory office, focused on promoting safety and protecting human rights in the development and use of AI in Australia. The AI Safety Commissioner should:

    1. work with regulators to build their technical capacity regarding the development and use of AI in areas for which those regulators have responsibility 
    2. monitor and investigate developments and trends in the use of AI, especially in areas of particular human rights risk
    3. provide independent expertise relating to AI and human rights for Australian policy makers 
    4. issue guidance to government and the private sector on how to comply with laws and ethical requirements in the use of AI.
  • Recommendation 23: AI Safety Commissioner

    The AI Safety Commissioner (see Recommendation 22) should:

    1. be independent from government in its structure, operations and legislative mandate, but may be incorporated into an existing body or be formed as a new, separate body
    2. be adequately resourced, wholly or primarily by the Australian Government
    3. be required to have regard to the impact of the development and use of AI on vulnerable and marginalised people in Australia
    4. draw on diverse expertise and perspectives including by convening an AI advisory council.

An AI Safety Commissioner could support regulators, policy makers, government and business apply laws and other standards in respect of AI-informed decision making.

EDWARD SANTOW, AUSTRALIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER