Deakin University aims to push artificial intelligence boundaries

Deakin University is investing close to $33 million into its new Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2), pushing the boundaries of what is possible between human interactions and artificial intelligence (AI).

Deakin vice chancellor Jane den Hollander joined Victorian Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade, Martin Pakula, on April 12 to launch the Institute at the University’s Burwood Campus.

A2I2 merges the capabilities of the University’s Pattern Recognition and Data Analysis (PRaDA) and the Deakin Software and Technology Laboratory (DSTIL), bringing together all aspects of AI research and development from fundamental science to how it translates into commercial products for real-world application.

Den Hollander said A2I2 had a particular emphasis on developing the partnership between the human user and the AI system, and would explore how AI can present information that builds trust, is easily comprehensible, useful and timely.

“The ability of machines to imitate intelligent human behaviour is already part of our lives. Just ask Siri, Alexa or Google. AI is helping hospital trauma centres make faster, better decisions, and researchers develop improved materials for manufacturing,” said den Hollander.

“Much is made of the potential for AI to replace human intelligence, but AI’s true potential lies in its capacity to enhance human abilities rather than replace them.

“We’re not building robots to take the place of humans, but we are creating technology that will work alongside people to help them make more informed and better decisions.

“Deakin is committed to supporting the communities we serve and we know there will be an increased demand for AI technology by business, industry and in the wider community. Through this sustained commitment to AI with a $32.7m investment, we will also help ensure our local and global communities are prepared for the jobs of the future,” said den Hollander.

Pakula said Victoria is leading the way as Australia’s home of tech and innovation and our success is supported by world-class universities such as Deakin.

A2I2 has almost 100 staff on board including several who have been working in the field for more than 25 years, long before the current interest in AI.

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