Queensland govt stakes its claim to AI

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Queensland govt stakes its claim to AI

Preparing to benchmark itself on world scale.

Queensland is hoping to set itself up as an artificial intelligence hub in both development and adoption.

Job advertisements placed in all capital cities last week seek an AI specialist to benchmark the state’s current place in the AI market both domestically and internationally, and recommend ways to improve.

The specialist has six months to present a paper to “the Chief Entrepreneur and the Director General” of an unnamed “large government department” in Queensland.

That would suggest the AI push falls under the auspices of the Advance Queensland initiative, which sits in the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation’s (DSITI) portfolio.

Mark Sowerby was named Queensland’s first chief entrepreneur in October last year, while DSITI’s director-general Jamie Merrick played a “pivotal role” in formulating the Advance Queensland strategy.

The advertisement notes the department is keen to understand recent investment made in AI in the state “and the impact this is having and is forecast to have in years to come”.

It wants to benchmark the state’s experience “against other Australian states and other selected countries including USA”, and to receive “recommendations on how Queensland can adopt and improve the take up of AI".

The department is also hoping to feed some of the findings “to entrepreneurs and motivate/help focus research in many areas of AI".

One of the initiatives Sowerby is fronting is Hot DesQ, which in part gives start-ups based outside Queensland funds to establish a presence in the state. Some of those given funds have relocated their operations, including AI start-ups from Israel and Silicon Valley.

Advance Queensland has been given $420 million to spend over a four-year period.

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