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Businesses urged to plug in to responsible AI network

A world-first support network will help Australian businesses make the most of the trillion-dollar opportunity presented by new technologies.

National AI Centre director Stela Solar launched the Responsible Artificial Intelligence Network, co-ordinated by Australia's leading science agency CSIRO, on Thursday.

Artificial intelligence is expected to be worth $22.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, according to the CSIRO.

Ms Solar says the network is essential to help businesses capitalise on this opportunity because AI can "only be as good as we lead it".

"It can help to tackle some of the grand challenges that we're facing in the world, like climate change and health," she told AAP.

"But AI is built on top of data, and this data can have biases that we may not even notice."

Ms Solar said "data deserts" due to under-representation of diverse populations result in biases that inform and influence outcomes by AI.

"For instance, we know that loan approval algorithms are based on data from financial institutions," she said.

"And we actually saw where women were disadvantaged during the loan approval process, because the data generally had women with lower income, and through history women were not owning properties."

Mitigating biases is one of the many issues on the agenda for the network, with Ms Solar adding that one AI tool kit was able to spot biases in the loan approval algorithms and remove them from the code.

Organisations ranging from technology, ethics, law and academia such as the Tech Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group are taking part in the network.

Ms Solar believes responsible AI could become a competitive advantage for all Australian businesses if done correctly.

"Larger enterprises will tend to have their own developer teams, so they might build things that are more customised," she said.

"But there's low-hanging fruit for small and medium organisations, because much of the technology that they're already using today has AI options in it."

For example, organisations using a HR management system could be able to add an AI module to provide answers to employees about common questions.

AI is already being used to help with high volumes of customer inquiries where chatbots could provide support for questions and complaints.

Worries about whether jobs will be replaced by AI have risen due to the growing popularity of chatbots, namely ChatGPT, but Ms Solar wants Australians to embrace the technology.

"I see AI as almost this co-pilot that can help do some of the work to further our own impact," said Ms Solar, who has used ChatGPT to help her work.

"That is a really powerful dynamic that I think is an opportunity for all of us."