This is an extract from “The ecosystem“, the first report of the four-part series, “Asia’s AI agenda”, by MIT Technology Review Insights.
Australia, while physically distant from much of Asia’s AI ecosystem, has trade and communications connectivity to the region. Like Singapore and Hong Kong, it has fashioned a robust data center and cloud computing industry to service growing domestic and regional demand, as well as a tertiary education system that attracts many of the best and brightest students from across Asia. Worth over A$32 billion ($23 billion) in 2017, education services are Australia’s third largest export.
Several of these world-class universities are now creating anchors for AI research, in collaboration with government initiatives. The University of Adelaide started the Australian Institute for Machine Learning, last year, and the previous year, the Australia National University launched a research center for ‘autonomy, agency and assurance’—the 3A Innovation Institute—to create a full education program of applied science around combined cybernetic and physical systems by 2022.
In a similar approach to that being adopted by other countries across the Asia Pacific region, Australia is mostly fostering AI applications that link to the country’s core industries. For example, with many of Australia’s top exports such as agricultural products, and its tourism sector, depending upon the country’s unique biodiversity, AI is finding application in efforts to secure the ecosystem, thanks to a trial at Murdoch University to use algorithms (similar to facial recognition) to detect potentially dangerous plants and animals entering Australia.