Australia’s public service is embracing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in its operations, with the support of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. The trial of Microsoft’s GPT4-based AI platform, Copilot, has garnered significant attention within the sector. While the official […]
Australia’s public service is embracing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in its operations, with the support of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. The trial of Microsoft’s GPT4-based AI platform, Copilot, has garnered significant attention within the sector. While the official list of participating agencies has not been announced yet, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has taken responsibility for the trial after a disruption during an information meeting about AI use in the government.
Lisa Jansen, Deputy CEO for Digital Strategy, Architecture, and Research at the DTA, stated, “The Digital Transformation Agency has invited APS agencies to participate in the Copilot trial. The trial is set to begin in early 2024, and the final list of participating agencies will be confirmed in the coming weeks. The DTA, in collaboration with the AI in Government Taskforce, will establish guidelines for the entire government and security requirements, monitor the trial, and evaluate its implementation.”
Jansen emphasized that “participating agencies will be responsible for implementing the Copilot platform, including assessing security risks based on their specific circumstances and requirements to ensure a safe and responsible use of generative AI capabilities.”
While the decision to support the Copilot trial has raised eyebrows among some government suppliers, it is not the decision itself that surprised them but rather the timing and communication surrounding it.
The government has expressed a desire for the local industry to come up with various AI applications, improvements, and solutions through a consultative process, but then these ideas are often presented in ways that are inaccessible to local providers.
It is not surprising that Microsoft, a company with a long-standing presence in the market predating even IBM, is involved in this endeavor. Microsoft is one of the key investors in OpenAI, the company that transformed ChatGPT, a software that can be used for free, into a phenomenon within just 18 months. OpenAI also produces white-label AI technologies like GPT4, which other tech companies use as a testament to their own AI capabilities.
During the past week, Albanese revealed that the APS is conducting a trial for Copilot, and shortly after, OpenAI announced the departure of its CEO, Sam Altman. This decision prompted most employees to threaten to quit, resulting in Altman’s return at the urging of major investors, including Microsoft.
There is nothing like the slightly wild atmosphere of San Francisco for some freer thinking.