Livestock, Medtech and Horticulture Key AI Opportunities for Australia, Report Finds

Australia can cement its position as a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) by more effectively turning AI research into commercial opportunities to support existing national industry strengths, says a new report released by the National AI Centre. 

Australia can cement its position as a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) by more effectively translating current AI research to real-world solutions - and industries. Image Credit: CSIRO

Published during Australia’s first-ever AI Month, ‘Australia’s artificial intelligence ecosystem – Catalysing an AI industry’, provides businesses, investors, government and research institutions with the most up-to-date analysis of Australia’s AI ecosystem and how to advance it. 

Commissioned by the National AI Centre, which sits within Australia’s national science agency – CSIRO, the report reveals that Australia produces 1.6 per cent of global AI research but only 0.2 per cent of global AI patents where the inventor resides within Australia. 

Securing patents for research ensures Australia can benefit from its own innovations, enhancing the country's global competitiveness. 

To seize the benefits from the $13 trillion AI opportunity, Australia could patent, commercialise and apply its world-leading research to domestic and global challenges, said National AI Centre Director Stela Solar.  

“This could boost Australia’s international competitiveness, attract investments, foster talent growth, and fuel the development of new sectors and jobs," Ms Solar said. 

“AI is the lifeblood of modern innovation, and Australia has the cutting-edge research capability to create globally competitive AI solutions. We have the leading players on the court and need a gameplay that translates this capability into goals.” 

Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Chief Research Consultant at CSIRO’s Data61 and lead author of the report, said Australia can now pinpoint and strengthen its areas of AI specialisation to enhance its global market advantage. 

“Australia’s AI ecosystem is experiencing rapid growth, specialisation and diversification, and we need to keep applying innovative AI to areas Australia already leads on a global scale.

“This report identifies 31 potential application domains that can help Australia become a globally competitive AI maker and exporter, with the top five being livestock production, medical technology, horticulture, optometry, and dermatology.”   

AI innovation hotspots will help catalyse the formation, growth and development of these industry-specific AI opportunities, said Dr Alexandra Bratanova, Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO’s Data61 and author of the report. 

“Homegrown AI solutions can be higher in quality, tailored to domestic needs and more aligned to our values of safe and responsible AI products than those from big international AI providers,” said Dr Bratanova.  

“Each AI cluster has between 6 and 146 AI companies with an average distance between two being only 80 meters. This proximity is likely to facilitate collaboration, knowledge sharing and skills development.”  

Key report findings: 

  • There are 544 AI companies in Australia, a figure that is on par with other global AI leaders like Canada.  
  • The number of AI companies has increased substantially in the past decade, with 396 opening in the past 10 years and 204 in the past five years. This is a 7.7% year-on-year growth over the past five years. 
  • Most of Australia’s AI companies provide data services that develop and optimise AI capabilities, including data analysis and management. 
  • Australia’s AI companies show patterns of geographic clustering with 8 hotspots across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. 54% (296) of AI companies are located in these hotspots. 

The report also includes insights from consultations held with 28 stakeholders across the AI ecosystem in Australia, including representatives from companies developing and adopting AI technologies and supporting services, government agencies and academic institutions.   

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