Australia Says Tougher Laws Needed on Artificial Intelligence

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SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) – Australia announced on Thursday that it would regulate artificial intelligence. This could include a ban on deep-fakes and realistic-looking yet false content.

This move follows a recent meeting of AI executives who raised the "risks of extinction due to AI" and encouraged policymakers to compare it with the risks of pandemics or nuclear war.

Ed Husic, Minister of Industry and Science, told ABC Television that there is a growing concern in the community about the potential for technology to advance too quickly.

The National Science and Technology Council of Australia released a report on Thursday that showed AI-generated material could be used to create a flood in submissions for parliamentary consultations, misleading public opinion.

Husic stated that "governments have a role to play when it comes to recognizing the risks and... putting in place curbs."

Australia was one of the first countries to regulate AI. In 2018, it unveiled a voluntary ethical framework.

Husic said that there were still gaps in the laws covering copyright and privacy, as well as consumer protection. He also stated that the government was working to make sure its legal frameworks are "fit for purpose", given the rapid growth of the AI industry.

Last month, European legislators moved closer to passing a law to govern AI. This could be the first comprehensive AI legislation in the world and set a precedent for advanced economies.

Husic stated that Australia would consider banning AI high-risk components if it was strongly requested during the public consultations for framing new laws.