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IAG partnership to develop ethical AI-based systems

17th December 2018 - Author: Charlie Wood

Australian primary insurer, Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG), has partnered with The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Data61 group and The University of Sydney on the creation of an independent, not-for-profit organisation founded to research the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI).

TechnologyThe Gradient Institute’s goal is to develop ethical AI-based systems that will provide better outcomes for individuals and society as a whole.

The Institute will use research findings to create open source ethical AI tools that can be adopted and adapted by business and government.

Leading as Chief Executive Officer will be Bill Simpson-Young, following a transition from Director of Engineering and Design at CSIRO’s Data61.

He will lead in partnership with Dr Tiberio Caetano, Co-founder and Chief Scientist at Ambiata, a wholly owned subsidiary of IAG, who will direct the Institute’s research into ethical AI as Chief Scientist.

Simpson-Young said artificial intelligence today poses a challenge and an opportunity to discover which design choices for AI will lead to positive outcomes for people and society.

“Artificial Intelligence learns from data and data reflects the past – at the Gradient Institute we want the future to be better than the past. By embedding ethics into AI, we believe we will be able to choose ways to avoid the mistakes of the past by creating better outcomes through ethically-aware machine learning.”

“For example, in recruitment when automated systems use historical data to guide decision making they can bias against subgroups who have historically been underrepresented in certain occupations.”

“By embedding ethics in the creation of AI we can mitigate these biases which are evident today in industries like retail, telecommunications and financial services,” Simpson-Young said.

Julie Batch, Chief Customer Officer at IAG, said being lead partner of Gradient Institute reflects IAG’s focus on embracing innovation to create better customer experiences.

“Leaning into the challenges and opportunities of AI requires considered thinking about fairness and equality. No government or business can do this alone.

“We need to work together across sector and we need to do this with urgency, which is why we’re proud to be founding partners with two of Australia’s strongest science and academic leaders – Data61 and the University of Sydney.”

“Ethical AI will improve trust in how automated machines make decisions. IAG hopes to be an early adopter of the techniques and tools the Institute develops so we can provide better experiences for our customers,” Batch added.

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