It was National Science Week last week and as it is with nearly every discussion on every front, artificial intelligence (AI) was in the spotlight.
With automation and AI revolutionising the world, this year’s program examines innovation and technological advancements across all fields. We asked four
To try and flesh out some of the ways AI will transform key industries, we asked for four tech leaders and founders to share their insights. Here’s what they said
Responsible and ethical investment
Estelle Parker, Executive Manager, Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA)
Investors are increasingly attuned to the challenges posed by big tech, especially artificial intelligence. The implications, both positive and negative, of digital technology and especially AI are anticipated to be more significant than the internet itself.
If we don’t appropriately manage its growth, the impact on human rights could be major and the nexus between AI and human rights is a key focus of RIAA’s Human Rights Working Group. These issues include privacy and data protection, freedom of expression and opinion, conflict and security, discrimination, political participation, child rights and the impact on livelihoods.
We’re working with the eSafety Commissioner and University of Technology Sydney’s Human Technology Institute on an investor toolkit, which will provide investors with practical advice on how to navigate digital tech and human rights.
While new tech and AI will provide opportunities, like enhanced screening, analysis, and risk assessment, as well as assistance with companies’ alignment with ESG factors, there remain significant challenges.
We need better governance frameworks for new tech and AI to give confidence to investors about the ethical impacts of its application. Human oversight will remain vital to ensure AI decisions align with investor values and to avoid any potential ethical dilemmas.
Online payments and fintech
Caitlin Zotti, co-CEO, Pin Payments
AI’s integration is already redefining job roles and workflows in online payments and fintech, and while there’s some fear associated with this, it also presents an opportunity for greater innovation and creativity.
While certain tasks may be automated, new opportunities will arise in AI development, maintenance, and oversight. Businesses will need AI-related skills, prompting upskilling and reskilling efforts for employees.
From an industry standpoint, automated fraud detection systems powered by AI will enhance security, reducing scams and the risk of financial losses for businesses. Likewise, new tech will enhance customer engagement and streamline support processes, user experience and trust. Fintechs will have the opportunity to provide highly personalised service to their customers, by better understanding user behaviours and preferences.
Despite this, data privacy and tech biases remain an area of concern.
As tech continues to advance, ethical considerations must be balanced alongside innovation and advancement.
Greater investment is needed in STEM and tech roles now, to create roles for future industries and ensure there are no skills gaps. SMEs will also need education on the changing digital landscape, to ensure no business is left behind in this transition.
Technology and future transport
Thomas Fu, founder and executive director, Motor Culture Australia
New technology and AI are set to completely reshape the transport and motor car industries, altering the future of work. In the automotive sector, AI-driven advancements will revolutionise vehicle safety, efficiency, and autonomy.
Features like adaptive cruise control and self-parking mechanisms are just the beginning. AI-powered systems will enable enhanced predictive maintenance, improving vehicle reliability and reducing downtime.
Moreover, electric and autonomous vehicles will be enabled by AI algorithms that navigate, process data from sensors, and make split-second decisions.
From an industry standpoint, these changes will improve transport safety but will also require reskilling from traditional automotive roles to new opportunities in AI programming, data analysis, and cybersecurity.
While embracing automation and digitisation is vital, Australia has a strong interest in motor culture which is unlikely to disappear.
While automated transport may be the way of the future, it’s likely car enthusiasts will continue driving, even if only for leisure.
Engineering and urban planning
Julian Vivoli, founder, Vivoli Consulting Engineers
Engineering and urban planning is on the brink of transformation due to new tech and AI, reshaping the way projects are conceived, designed, and executed. Advanced tools like Building Information Modelling (BIM) powered by AI are revolutionising design, simulation, and project and asset management.
Likewise, AI-powered tools enable complex data sets to be analysed to optimise urban designs, enhancing sustainability, transportation systems, and infrastructure efficiency.
The future of work in engineering and urban planning requires a blend of both technical and creative skills, requiring collaboration between engineers, architects, and AI systems.
While routine tasks might be automated, the demand for skilled workers who can adapt AI to solve intricate urban and construction challenges will rise.
Preparing for this future involves a commitment to continuous learning, upskilling and embracing the symbiotic relationship between technology and human expertise.
However, innovations in tech and engineering may also enable us to approach complex issues like future planning, sustainability and climate change, in a more effective and transformative way.