Australia’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy – Emboldening the potential for AI collaboration across the Trilateral Security Dialogue

The second Trilateral AI Experts Group dialogue was held in Melbourne, Australia, to examine the challenges of Artificial Intelligence development, security, ethics, and interoperability in an Australian context.

Trilateral Security Dialogue Paper Series No. 2

Melbourne

The second Trilateral AI Experts Group dialogue was held in Melbourne, Australia, to examine the challenges of Artificial Intelligence development, security, ethics, and interoperability in an Australian context. The report is part of a broader Department of Defence Strategic Policy Grants Program (SPGP) project that examines strategies for enhancing Australia’s AI capability development and defence cooperation with Japan and the United States under the Trilateral Security Dialogue (TSD) framework. This report was produced in collaboration with the Pacific Forum.

The Australian federal government has grown increasingly active in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space over the past five years with key strategy documents relating to the use and development of AI, data policy, digital economy, and defence guiding much of the nation’s direction in this pivotal area. While much is currently made of Australia’s Artificial Intelligence Research and Development capabilities, the foundations to a compounded investment in AI face critical challenges in terms of investment, talent shortages, intergovernmental adoption, and security concerns across the information and cyber, maritime, air, space, and land domains.

In the context of defence, Australia’s engagement across AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom, United States), the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), and the Trilateral Security Dialogue (TSD) indicates a more robust response to AI and, more generally, emerging technologies. Despite these initiatives, however, investment in defence and global defence partnerships have come at the cost of investment potential within strategic sectors of the Australian domestic environment, including higher education. In the defence, diplomacy, economic, and military domains Australia is recognised as a middle power, capable of steering regional governance platforms and amplifying global institutional frameworks. However, it has at times adopted a cautious mindset in the AI field, producing fears that without a cultural change in the areas of experimentation, knowledge discovery, and creation, Australia will remain a pedestrian “taker of AI” only.

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.