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The panel at the Assembly of Catholic Professionals event in Brisbane last week (The Catholic Leader)

Artificial intelligence has exploded in popularity in the past 12 months, but some prominent thinkers are warning against its adoption on ethical grounds, the Assembly of Catholic Professionals in Brisbane heard last week. Source: The Catholic Leader.

More than 200 professionals were led through the dangers and opportunities for AI by industry leaders such as ACU Queensland Bioethics Centre director David Kirchhoffer, Queensland Government chief customer and digital officer Chris McClaren and Sally Cripps, Director of Technology at the Human Technology Institute at the University of Technology Sydney.

The conversation was moderated by Michael Casey, director of ACU’s PM Glynn Institute.

Dr Kirchhoffer said the greatest hope for AI was it enabled humans to do things better that “we’re okay at, but not great at”, and it enabled us to “do things that we don’t want to do”.

He said the aged care sector was an area that AI could be effective, where it could relieve pressure on an overburdened workforce and provide better medical monitoring.

The greatest challenge for AI, he said, was the risk that biases and injustices could become institutionalised into the system and – because of the speed with which AI works – create bad outcomes quickly.

Professor Cripps’ greatest hope was that AI could help us understand our world better.

She said advances in sciences, be they physical sciences, life sciences or social sciences, would help to address a range of issues.

She hoped by engaging people, especially experts and frontline workers, the AI systems we build could reflect the community experiences.

Her “doom and gloom world” is one where “we are living in Big Brother world, where we have no privacy anymore”.

Mr McClaren had great hopes for AI and hoped that everyone embraced it. In terms of his fears, he said he had “not many in the short term”, and believed more empirical data would be required before AI could be regulated properly.


Brisbane Catholic professionals discuss the benefits and pitfalls of artificial intelligence (By Joe Higgins, The Catholic Leader)