HELP! A robot was shortlisted and I wasn't!

Shelley Austin 13.11.2018

The concept of investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning is one that has been known to the NSW Government for some time. Whilst it has been discussed at great length, it has only recently been viewed as an investment that should be taken seriously.

The capability of AI are proving to be limitless, but one that recently piqued my interest, and one which I want to discuss in more detail, is a development Google recently announced. 

Back in May 2018, Google unveiled a jaw-dropping new capability of Google Assistant (Duplex) at a keynote. I believe it is fair to say that the reactions to this impressive capability were heavily skewed to either side of the spectrum, some believing that it is a fantastic step forward within technology and others being left absolutely terrified. The keynote demonstrated an ultra-realistic conversation between an AI Assistant and a human operator, so why would this be absolutely terrifying?

Dwell within the question a little further and it is only natural that one would feel slightly uneasy. Attempting to answer the questions will ultimately raise more questions and become quite controversial. A major concern of Duplex is that it had the ability to carry out a sophisticated conversation whilst also completing the majority of its tasks autonomously. Call me “old fashioned” but I wonder if it is sensible to be trusting a concoction of silicon with sensitive and at times classified Government information. In a way one might argue that this is already being done. I would be curious to hear what other readers think at this point. Until then, I’ll stick to that I do know, and discuss some issues that seem to be having the largest impact on jobs and opportunities within the NSW Government. 

Is a circuit going to make me obsolete and take my hard earned opportunities?

I will provide you with the facts that I have gained from a number of Government departments and universities and this will allow you to answer that question for yourself. The Federal Government for 2018-2019 has allocated just shy of $30 million toward AI investment, which will be used over the next four years to ultimately strengthen Australia’s AI and Machine Learning capabilities. It is safe to assume that a large portion of this sum will be invested into NSW departments, including; the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Department of Education. All 11 of the state’s universities are involved in global research and academic collaboration networks - often with some of the world’s largest multinational companies. 

Many researchers believe that AI will be the most disruptive class of technologies throughout the next 10 years or so. However, the NSW Government has a fantastic grasp on how AI may affect the public and are ensuring that the correct road-maps and standard frameworks are implemented accordingly. A national AI Ethics Framework has been developed and will be implemented to address the softer discrepancies that the NSW Government may have with AI.

The majority of the $30 million dollar investment will go toward and support digital business innovations such as health, agriculture, energy, mining and cyber-security.  There is no question that AI will be able to support these sectors and revolutionise them accordingly. Naturally with investment, we can expect a number of new and exciting roles to be created throughout the NSW Government departments and universities. Innovation brings with it new opportunities, which is driven by the need to implement and maintain more complex and sophisticated systems - both hardware and software. 

The better perspective to have on this topic is to believe that the implementation of this technology is solely to assist us with our day-to-day lives, instead of viewing it as a threat to your career path. Approach with caution and pay attention to the latest updates from organisations and corporations. I have faith that the NSW Government will use this technology to implement new opportunities and further excel the currently business innovations.

If you are looking for your next role within the NSW Government, please reach out to me on +61 (0)2 8986 3154 or

Shelley Austin's picture
Manager | Government