Australia is currently seeing the first manifestations and ramifications of two of the business world’s key technologies: blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI). Both could fundamentally change how financial and professional operations are conducted in Australia.
Currently, blockchain technologies are being explored through research and start-ups looking to implement the purely digital ledger. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian government’s federal agency for scientific investigation, released a report last month exploring how blockchain could support the country, along with the risks it presents. In addition, in June, Melbourne hosted the Annual blockchain summit, while the newly formed Blockchain Association of Australia finished its first meeting on July 13th.
Businesses in Australia have also started implementing and trialing blockchain technologies. Three companies, in particular, are using the ledger for food and water related purposes. Civic Ledger is researching blockchain solutions for the governmental water market, TBSX3, and is using it as a method of exchange that ensures that food exports are genuine and authentic. AgriDigital is using it to centralize and organize the agriculture process from field to shelf. Meanwhile, Othera has proposed the use of blockchain to begin a lending business.
AI has also come into vogue within the country. Testra, a key player in the Australian telecommunications and media industries, has announced that it will begin introducing AI into its operations. The company’s CEO Andrew Penn labeled the technology “perhaps [the] most significant driver of technology innovation” during his speech at AMCHAM, and he continued by explaining that AI will be the “highest priority at Telstra [which] is to improve customer advocacy.”
The impact of AI on Australia’s business world was highlighted in a recent speech in Sydney made by Peter Norvig, the research director of Google, who urged every company to appoint at least one member of staff to assess the potential benefits of AI to their company. He said, “You have to have somebody who understands how to make the call and, from that, the rest will flow.”
Australia’s federal and corporate progress concerning the integration of blockchain and AI are symptomatic of a worldwide growth, development, and implementation of the technologies.
Blockchain technologies are being used to investigate currencies and transfer systems on a national and international basis. Multiple countries have launched efforts to try to understand the complexities and intricacies of digitizing a national currency. China has developed a prototype that could become a progenitor for a real life equivalent, Singapore is looking at a ‘tokenised’ form of the currency in collaboration with Fintech, and Sweden and India are both considering cryptocurrencies as part of their larger plans to become cashless societies.
A similar worldwide change can also be seen in the adoption of AI, which is being accepted into a variety of institutions at an exponential rate. The Canadian government has developed a $125 million budget to fund investigations and research into AI, while the US government has been holding meetings to plan and consider the effects of implementing the tech.
This revolution, however, is being most directly felt in technology circles. Recently, Google has announced that they are focusing all of their resources on developing an AI that can take over many of the company’s other functions. However, the nature of the transition — or perhaps the threat — is reflected best by the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, a collaboration between tech giants that ensures that AI is implemented responsibly on a worldwide basis.
Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.