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Data Digital Government Development

Staying On Track with AI – Is Your Agency on Board?

2 min read

Savvy government agencies have realised that having a governance process and framework to support AI and intelligent automation – especially AI ethics – is now mandatory.  

And while there are very few Secretaries, CEOs and SES in government agencies and departments who need to be convinced of the benefit of integrating data and analytics into their organisation for better impact and change, many are struggling to navigate the complex path of establishing not only an AI capability, but also a framework to support responsible and strategic decision making – with appropriate levels of explainability, transparency and understanding.  

This is where an AI Advisory Board (AiAB) can be invaluable. One of the key benefits that an AiAB can provide is independent oversight, guidance and practical advice on key strategic issues relating to the implementation, governance and growth of an AI capability.

Having an AiAB can potentially save agencies and departments from committing very costly financial, regulatory and reputational mistakes.

They can also help more broadly in identify risks and strategic opportunities by leveraging AI. An AiAB can act as a guiding light to the SES, Secretaries and CEOs through the technically murky waters of AI – helping identify what is fit-for-purpose for their needs, and sharing best-practice approaches.

This can also include technical guidance, such as independent model validation and oversight. 

Beyond this, the AiAB can be a source of knowledge and learning, allowing the SES to leverage the broad experience, insights and network of its members. 

The AiAB can also help and advise CDOs and other senior data and analytics leaders who may not have a technical background and can act as a talent pool for sourcing future SES roles. 

The AiAB can also guide and advise on the establishment of a robust AI governance framework, helping incorporate AI ethics and human rights into strategy and operations.

Organisations that leverage data-enabled technologies – especially at scale – are entrusted by society to ensure privacy, and ethical use of data for decision making, not to mention being able to explain why certain decisions were made.

AiAB’s can help oversee and guide the development of ethical, fair, robust, explainable and responsible AI-powered solutions – and the pressure to do so will only continue to increase.  

In Australia, there is a growing regulatory focus on the technological operations of organisations, especially those whose analytics-powered solutions that result in a direct impact on their customers and on society.

It’s become imperative for organisations to now have robust and appropriate governance policies and procedures to address this, and to mitigate risk and harm.  

Nonetheless, the SES must be strategic in determining the composition of its AiAB. To ensure ethical use of AI for decision making, a diversity of views and experiences is needed when striving for fair and unbiased outcomes, along with relevant technical expertise. 

However, technology alone cannot solve these issues, and data alone is not their only source. A cross-disciplinary team is needed, with representation from varied disciplines (technical, legal, risk, privacy and policy), including broader diversity and inclusion that’s representative of society. 

To truly reap the benefits of AI, in a responsible and scalable way, AiAB’s are an integral strategic asset. Is your agency on board? 

Dr Alex Antic is a trusted and experienced Data & Analytics Leader, Consultant, Advisor, and a highly sought Speaker, Trainer & Advisory Board Member.


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