Generative AI has been the technological hot potato of 2023 and this is unlikely to change in 2024. While the rest of the world and the mass media have been debating the long-term implications of generative AI and coming up with all sorts of scenarios based more on science fiction than science fact, Australia’s private and public sectors have been quietly doing what they do best: Embracing innovation and seeing where they can take it while remaining cognizant of the risks. 

Generative AI: A Little Background

Generative AI refers to AI software that can generate new content, be it words, images, music or even chatbots. It does this by assessing the statistical likelihood of what word will follow another in a sentence or what pixel will follow the next in a picture. That involves ingesting billions of books, articles, pictures and sounds – far more than a person could in a lifetime.

Even with all that data, the first attempts by generative AI were unimpressive. But by further evaluating its successes and failures, it got better, and we are now at a stage where, for example, ChatGPT can create a passable blog post on any given subject. The point that makes some people uncomfortable is that AI can keep learning and keep improving. How “good” will it be a year from now? Or 10 years? Or 100?

Of course, there are philosophical as well as technological questions surrounding generative AI, and data analysts are expected to come up with the answers. In Australia, the focus is very much on being guided by business goals as they explore use cases for generative AI and never losing sight of the risks.

Potential Benefits To The Australian Economy

When the Tech Council of Australia teamed up with Microsoft to jointly issues its Generative AI Opportunity report earlier this year, it predicted that generative AI could deliver between $29 billion and $74 billion in value to the Australian economy by 2030.

Most of this is predicted to derive from increased productivity as workers use AI as a tool to complete tasks both better and faster. Healthcare, finance and retail were all mentioned as candidates that could benefit. For example, AI can assess a patient and prescribe treatment on the basis of thousands of past cases in seconds, while a human might take an hour to read through four.

A New Approach To Live Casinos

Generative AI could also be put to use in the entertainment and leisure sectors. Casino gaming is bigger in terms of spending per capita in Australia than in any other country, so it is no surprise that this niche is already evaluating the possibilities. It is interesting that online casino platforms like those listed on the AustraliaInternetPokies website are keen to explore how AI can help them increase engagement with customers and provide them with an even better user experience, for instance, through Virtual Reality gaming. 

The latter involves physical props, a studio and, of course a human dealer. He or she needs a make-up artist, an engineer and someone to make the coffee. It is a clumsy and archaic way of going about things. Now imagine a casino in the metaverse where the customer walks in using an avatar and engages with other players and staff – completely unaware of whether they are humans or bots. It’s an application of generative AI that is not far away. 

Staying Cognizant Of The Risks

Australian developers are leading the way in developing use cases for generative AI. But they are not blind to the risks. Keeping the lid on AI is not going to happen, as the box is already open. Using it for the right reasons and always having feedback checks are both vital to ensure it learns without bias.

But that is just one risk. Arguably the greater risk is people misunderstanding the aims and potentialities of AI and simply seeing it as a threat to their jobs. We referred to AI as a tool earlier and that is an important distinction.100 years ago, farmers invested in equipment like tractors. Yet even today, we still need farm laborers. They just have an easier job today than they did before!

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