Wednesday, April 24, 2024

UNSW launches AI Institute

Industry leaders in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) converged on UNSW Sydney today for the launch of the UNSW AI Institute.

The new institute will support the activities of more than 300 UNSW academics working in AI spanning all UNSW faculties. 

“Our objective at the UNSW AI Institute is to synergise the activities of researchers working in AI, machine learning, and data science, to maximise our collective impact,” said Associate Professor Haris Aziz, the interim Director of the UNSW AI Institute.  

“The envisioned impact has multiple dimensions, including fostering interdisciplinary connections for both teaching and research, participation in public dialogue on AI, and driving the commercialisation of our research. The interdisciplinary aspect is fundamental to our vision which is why we are excited to have participation from all the faculties,” said A/Prof Aziz.  

UNSW AI Institute Chief Scientist Toby Walsh and Associate Professor Haris Aziz, the interim Director of the UNSW AI Institute (Photo: UNSW).

UNSW Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Attila Brungs said the Institute will provide a forum for researchers and students to share ideas, and maximise opportunities for collaborative creativity and the discovery that can happen in such a fertile environment.

“It will play its part in explaining to the broader community how AI can be of benefit to society, but also encourage debate about its use and limitations, including appropriate regulation,” he said.

“United together – academia, industry, and government – we have the potential to power the future development, growth and productivity of our state. Making NSW the Australian home of responsible AI will help drive our future economy and prosperity,” said NSW Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government, Victor Dominello. 

UNSW AI Institute Chief Scientist, Toby Walsh said it was undoubtedly the most exciting time to be working in the field of AI.

“We are seeing these technologies leave the laboratory and enter our homes, offices, and factories. The role of the UNSW AI Institute is to facilitate this transfer and ensure AI is deployed responsibly, that benefits all members of society,” he said.

A/Prof Aziz said AI was becoming better than humans in performing many key tasks from marketing chatbots to AI safeguarding private records against cyber criminals.

“Harnessing its potential and ensuring its responsible use is important. The UNSW AI Institute is a platform to help connect UNSW AI researchers with each other and the rest of the world.”

“We have a wealth of world-class researchers working on fundamental AI problems or applying AI techniques to their respective domains. The main consideration for setting up the institute was to make sure that we capitalise on our strengths and make it easier for the world to engage with us.” 

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