WordPress Ad Banner

Departments in Australia Granted Autonomy to Explore AI Tools

According to a report by ABC News, the Australian federal government has delegated the decision-making authority regarding the utilization of AI tools, such as ChatGPT, to individual departments rather than formulating a unified policy for public services. While the Department of Home Affairs has emphasized the need for coordination and monitoring in implementing AI tools, lawmakers have raised concerns about the absence of clear guidelines and safeguards.

Since its introduction last year, millions of users have experimented with tools like ChatGPT, and private organizations have swiftly integrated AI into their products and services to enhance productivity and reduce costs. However, government entities have been comparatively slow in responding to this technological breakthrough and have refrained from imposing any moratoriums on its usage, despite calls from certain segments of the public.

WordPress Ad Banner

It has now come to light that Australian government departments have been independently deploying these AI tools without the presence of a comprehensive federal policy governing their application.

Which Australian Departments are Using AI Tools?

According to the confirmation given by Home Affairs, various departments such as Information Computer Technology Division, Refugee Humanitarian & Settlement Division, Data & Economic Analysis Centre, and Cyber and Critical Technology Coordination Centre have been identified as those using ChatGPT.

The usage of the AI tool is “coordinated and monitored,” as per the ABC report. Parts of a department have sought access to use the tool for “experimentation and learning purposes” and were looking at the “utility for innovation.” The department also said that it was not aware of employees using the tool as part of their everyday jobs.

Former barrister turned politician David Shoebridge has, however, criticized the move and called it “concerning” that the Refugee Humanitarian & Settlement Division was also part of this experiment. Shoebridge highlighted that leak of personal information in such a use case could literally cost lives.

Other departments, such as the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), have, however, prohibited the use of these tools and advised staff not to enter work-related information into such tools using their personal devices.