Australia is looking to regulate the growth of artificial intelligence technologies, and may consider bans in areas deemed high-risk.

The technologies have the potential for breakthroughs in such things as creating new medical treatments and preventing online fraud.

However, there are concerns about their safe, responsible and ethical use.

Industry Minister Ed Husic on Thursday released two papers to spur public discussion on the issue.

Mr Husic said the government wanted to reaffirm confidence in the community that laws were fit for purpose.

“There are huge benefits … (but some risks) undermine confidence in decision-making and create misinformation in the broader public,” he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

“We want this process to put a spotlight on those risks, (so) we can get to the point where there is a great degree of confidence and trust in the way that technology is used, to deliver a benefit for the community.”

Asked whether the government was considering a ban in some circumstances, Mr Husic said it would examine it where there was a “clear high risk”.

“We want people to have their say, but clearly where there are things that the public are saying in very loud terms that they want us to be able to respond and manage,” he said.

“Then we want to have those options on the table.”

Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering chief executive Kylie Walker said a national conversation was “critical” for recognising the importance of these technologies and the role they can play.

“We must focus on both the opportunities and the risks of widespread adoption … and the implications of increasing geopolitical competition and geo-specific regulation in AI-related technologies and industries,” she said.

Leaders in the AI space recently warned of the threat it may pose to humanity, and likened the risk to that of pandemics and nuclear war.

The May budget invested $41 million for the responsible development of the technology through the National AI Centre, and a new responsible AI adoption program for small and medium enterprises.

Australia was one of the first countries to adopt AI ethics principles.

Source: AAP