Artificial intelligence will be a creator of jobs over the next five years, not a destroyer, Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews says.
In an interview with The West Australian, Ms Andrews said AI and the tech sector were going to be crucial in ensuring the Coalition met its target of creating 1.25 million jobs by 2024.
It comes after AI has been a focus of G20 meetings in Japan with ministers agreeing on new “guiding principles” for using AI, including a vow to provide training for workers.
Ms Andrews told The West she had been given a directive from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that her portfolio should be about job creation.
“This portfolio will be critical for increasing employment and meeting the 1.25 million jobs target … I will be working closely with (Employment Minister) Michaelia Cash and (Assistant Minister for VET) Steve Irons,” Ms Andrews said.
She said “AI” and “the whole tech sector” would be key to jobs growth.
Ms Andrews said getting the “ethical framework” around AI was important, but people should not be afraid of technological advances and she wanted to sell the technology as a way of “helping people do what they need to do”.
She said G20 talks about AI had been productive and she wanted to make sure workers would have access to skills training while AI was still in its early development.
“Australia will be looking towards a collaborative journey with other nations to ensure we take our respective communities with us when it comes to artificial intelligence technology,” Ms Andrews said.
“We need to make sure citizens are engaged and able to provide feedback on ethical AI issues now, and have have access to skills training in this early stage.
“As with other technological advances, AI will create a large number of new Australian jobs and industries.”
Ms Andrews said AI could boost manufacturing.
“We need to grow the manufacturing sector in Australia… and need to bring (it) together with the tech sector and AI,” she said.
Ms Andrews, pictured, who will be visiting WA in coming weeks, also said she wanted to maximise job growth in tourism, hospitality and international education to diversify the economy.