AI thriving in Victoria

Victoria is a national leader in artificial intelligence and our economy is reaping the rewards.

You could be forgiven for thinking that artificial intelligence (AI) is solely the stuff of science fiction. Thanks to advances in computing, this is not the case, and simulated human intelligence by computers and machines–the very definition of AI – is developing rapidly.

The potential for AI is limitless. It has the capacity to boost economic productivity, improve public services, and contribute to scientific and technological breakthroughs in areas such as medicine, education, transport and finance. Many international governments, including the US and China, have recently introduced development plans to allow the technology to prosper.

Closer to home, here in Victoria we too have a thriving AI community. Our education system and subsequent talent pool have a lot to do with it. Our 10 universities produce 37 per cent of tech graduates – more than any other state. This has helped lure an enviable array of international tech giants. A few of the bigger names setting up in Victoria recently include Google, Amazon and Alibaba. Further, half of the 20 largest ASX-listed technology companies are headquartered in Victoria.

Government recognises the importance of AI to economic development. In March, a Victorian All-Party Parliamentary Group in Artificial Intelligence was launched to discuss how AI will impact our community and economy.

What’s more, in 2019, Deakin University will invest $20 million to launch its Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute. No doubt this will bolster the number of Victorian AI graduates and allow our state to continue to be leaders in the field.

Business case study: Red Marble AI

Melbourne Artificial Intelligence software company Red Marble AI is on the frontline of the AI revolution.

Dave TimmThey have developed chatbot software similar in concept to how voice assistant Siri operates on an iPhone. Used by staff at a Melbourne-based gold-mining company, the software allows workers to perform administrative chores quickly and safely, interacting via text or voice.

Red Marble AI has also created hands-free software with a camera, speakers and a small screen attached to a hard hat, allowing the user to safely talk to a software assistant while working. While it’s currently used solely by miners, according to Red Marble AI’s head of AI, Dave Timm, it also has value beyond this.

"Organisations are seeing that they can help their human workforce to work quicker, smarter and safer by embracing AI," says Dave. "Every job has potential to be enhanced by AI software – from doctors to teachers, lawyers, software developers, construction workers and drivers."

Not that AI will void the need for humans anytime soon. "Artificial Intelligence is, in broad terms, when software takes on human characteristics such as seeing, hearing, understanding, and learning," says Dave, "and while we’re still a very long way off from AI being as intelligent as humans, the ability for software to make intelligent decisions is progressing quickly."

That said, Dave believes companies who embrace AI ahead of time "will thrive" in our increasingly sophisticated, knowledge-based economy.

Save the date: Digital AI Summit on 28 August

The Digital AI Summit is part of this year’s Digital Innovation Festival. It will bring together industry leaders to discuss the current state of AI and how it's being applied across businesses and industries – including perspectives from education, government, recruitment, entrepreneurship and the corporate sector. Using relevant case studies, the Summit will cover AI and problem solving, cybersecurity, the democratisation of AI, the AI skills gap and the impact of AI on consumer behaviour.

Tickets and further information at