The Australian Information Industry Association has thrown its weight behind a backbench proposal for a Technology Assessment Office to help policymakers better understand the impact that emerging technologies could have on draft policies and regulations.
The AIIA said that governments and members of Parliament were expected to maintain a high-level of understanding of existing technology and emerging technologies and how they can be used to improve productivity, deliver services and impact society.
Given the unrelenting pace of the technology change, the AIIA said it would make sense to create a technology advisory office to ensure policymakers are not overwhelmed.
Specifically, the office would advise policymakers on the likely impact of an emerging tech on a policy, and how to ensure that regulations keep pace with technological development.
The Technology Assessment Office has been put forward as a bipartisan proposal by two Victorian MPs, the Liberals’ Member for Casey Aaron Violi and the ALP Member for Fraser Daniel Mulino.
The AIIA says that that such an office such as that being proposed by Mr Violi and Dr Mulino existed in the US to advise the US Congress from 1974 to 1995 and says there have been calls for its reinstatement.
“Increased understanding of the impacts and opportunities posed by emerging technologies such as generative AI, Quantum, IoT and robotics will have on the economy is needed to develop well considered and fit-for-purpose policy,” AIIA chief executive Simon Bush said.
“A greater understanding and assessment of technology policy will ideally lead to a reduction in duplication and overlap and mediate against the increased regulatory burden on the economy,” he said.
The AIIA has previously called for the creation of a Council of Tech Regulators to support policy-making that is streamlined and sequenced and says that what the two MPs are proposing is consistent with this approach – seeking independent insights to support policy development.
“Where regulation is needed, it is important that it is fully informed on the implications and existing responsibilities faced by industry,” Mr Bush said.
“Emerging technologies have the potential to rapidly transform Australia’s economy. It is important our policy makers are provided the best information available to support the development of any regulation.”
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