A new research centre in South Australia says it will use AI to improve a range of industries. 

The new Centre for Augmented Reasoning – funded with $20 million from the Australian Government – has been set up at the University of Adelaide.

It is headquartered within the already well-regarded Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) at the University of Adelaide.

Augmented reasoning is a new and emerging field of AI which combines an advanced ability to learn patterns using traditional machine learning, with an ability to reason.

The four-year investment by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment in people and research will train a new generation of experts in machine learning – which is the AI technology driving real economic impact today – and support the growth of new high-tech jobs.

A $3.5 million innovation fund for AI commercialisation will provide seed funding to launch new start-ups, as well as support local collaboration opportunities, strategic development programs, and new business ventures.

The centre will lead the research and development of new augmented systems, and improve machine learning technology across a range of applications, which might include:

  • machines that continually learn new things while interacting with the environment

  • machines that work with data analysts to optimise business processes

  • machines that can ask people questions in ways that are more natural and easier than filling in forms

  • robots that can understand and follow instructions from people

  • factories where people and machines work seamlessly together without the need for constant reprogramming of software

“Artificial Intelligence is right now being used to improve the productivity of every industry sector,” says Professor Anton van den Hengel, Director of the Centre for Augmented Reasoning.

“If Australia wants to participate in a future AI-enabled global economy, we need to be applying AI to improve our productivity. That's the way that we maintain Australian jobs.

“In every industry, the jobs that AI supports aren't AI jobs. They’re jobs in mining, agriculture, building and service industries. All of those industries will be impacted by the productivity gains from AI.

“By using AI to improve their efficiency, productivity and quality, Australian businesses will remain competitive in an increasingly automated global economy.

“If Australia is too slow in adopting new technology, then our industries will not be able to compete against regions that have already embraced the changes brought about by AI.”