Government announces temporary AI reference group

February 18, 2024

The Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR) recently announced the formation of a temporary AI reference group, which will operate until 30 June 2024 (here).

The Group’s terms of reference are here, and its members are here (scroll to bottom of page). The group’s members have backgrounds in law (such as legal issues associated with automated decision-making), ethics and technology.

The terms of reference say:

The purpose of the group is to provide advice to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR) on immediate work to develop options for mandatory guardrails to ensure the design, development and deployment of AI systems in high-risk settings is safe.

The Government’s intention is to:

… establish a permanent expert advisory body to provide regulators and policymakers with access to ongoing, multi-disciplinary, technical, and regulatory expertise on AI.

The announcement follows the Government’s interim response to the Department of Industry consultation on Safe and Responsible AI in January (here). It says:

Our immediate focus will be on considering what mandatory safety safeguards are appropriate, and how best to implement them, informed by developments in other countries.

The response also refers to work on AI being done in other areas of government, including the Copyright and AI Reference Group announced by the Attorney General in December 2023 (here), and the work of the AI Working Group of the IP Policy Group (whose members include representatives from the Attorney General’s Department and the Office for the Arts).