New AI tech regulation doesn’t need a new wheel


The NSW government should look both abroad and at home for guidance on how to regulate burgeoning artificial intelligence (AI) technology rather than ‘reinvent the wheel’.

President of the Law Society of NSW Brett McGrath will tell a NSW Upper House Inquiry into AI today that its recommendations should have regard to the extensive work already underway on AI regulation at federal and international levels.

“AI brings with it many challenges and opportunities, and appropriately flexible, scalable and principles-based regulation will help ensure that the community can both reap the benefits of AI and be protected from its potential threats,” Mr McGrath said.

“The NSW Parliament should build upon and adapt existing approaches that are emerging both in Australian and international jurisdictions, and seek consistency with respect to privacy, cyber-security, consumer rights and human rights law.”

The Law Society will urge the Inquiry to support consistency in Australia’s AI laws and draw upon the findings and proposals of the major AI reviews to date, including the Commonwealth Government’s Safe and Responsible use of AI in Australia consultation.

“Policy makers in NSW may also find value in considering overseas efforts to deal with AI regulation, including the European Union’s proposed Artificial Intelligence Act and the more ‘light touch’ approach to AI regulation adopted in the United Kingdom,” Mr McGrath said.

“These contrasting approaches provide NSW with a useful point of comparison as the Inquiry, and later, the Government decides on the best approach to take to AI regulation.”

Mr McGrath also welcomed the Inquiry’s review of the Government’s NSW AI Strategy, Assurance Framework and Mandatory Ethical Principles for the use of AI.

“No clearer example is before our policy makers of the need for ethical use of AI than the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme. Citizens should know when and how automated decision making is significantly affecting their human rights and how and why they are being singled out for differential treatment,” Mr McGrath said.

Mr McGrath has identified AI and the legal profession as one of his President’s Priorities for 2024. He has convened an AI Taskforce of tech and legal experts to be a trusted source of expert advice and assistance for the Law Society, and, through it, for the solicitor profession across NSW on how AI will affect legal practice and the justice system.

He will be joined at the Inquiry hearing today by the Chair of the Law Society’s Privacy and Data Law Committee, Olga Ganopolsky.

Damien Smith | Director, Media and Public Relations
The Law Society of New South Wales

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