The Digital Innovation Festival (24 August-7 September 2018) is buzzing all around Melbourne and the Committee for Melbourne has been right in the thick of it.
Digital capability is one of Melbourne 4.0’s key Strategic Needs. This includes our successful initiative to create the Victorian All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence earlier this year and the establishment of the Committee’s AI Taskforce.
At the Festival on Tuesday 28 August, Committee for Melbourne CEO Martine Letts joined Kathy Coultas from DEDJTR and Cheryl George from CSIRO/Data61 on the opening panel to discuss the adoption of a 'whole of government - whole of community' approach to AI and the steps being taken for collaboration on ensuring:
- The community understand the significance of AI and the pace of change
- The significant change of thinking needed if Melbourne wants to with the tech revolution
- The importance of the recently formed Victorian All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial intelligence
- The establishment of an AI roadmap for Australia and the challenges of ethics
- The importance of government investment in innovation and technology hubs
- The formation of a Committee for Melbourne AI Taskforce to address immediate and future needs.
Martine said that getting on top of the opportunities and challenges of AI had deep implications far beyond our city, for the future of international relationships and the international rules-based system in security, trade, the environment and for all the international rules and codes of conduct we had developed since the end of WWII.
Later that afternoon at the Festival's Pearcey Day, speakers celebrated Australia and Melbourne’s proud history of ICT innovation:
- the world’s oldest surviving first-generation electronic computer, CSIRAC
- the more recent Wifi
They discussed how we can use these skills to thrive in an environment totally defined by rapid and radical technological change.
Martine joined the CEO of Innovation and Science Australia, Charlie Day and founder of the Australian Digital Transformation Agency, Paul Shetler to discuss whether Australian leaders in government and business fully understand how to successfully steward their businesses through the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The consensus was that Melbourne and Australia were falling behind, through complacency and lack of courageous leadership in board rooms and in government, where risk aversion and short-term interests and targets still dominated.
Committee for Melbourne’s role in providing a trusted environment for discussing these challenges with business, academia, civil society and government was also highlighted.
Paul Shetler’s Pearcey oration which followed focused on how technology was changing economies around the world and what needed to urgently change in Australia to generate wealth and prosperity for future generations.
Paul argued that:
- the Federal Government must make “big bets” on technology and moonshot industries, rather than just handing out start up grants as a route to kick-starting innovation in Australia
- Australian tech companies needed to be much more ruthlessly competitive to achieve the kind of successes necessary to transform the economy
- Outdated regulatory regimes which stifle competitiveness also need to be changed.