June 26, 2022

Digital tech is the future, but a new report shows Australia risks being left in the past

Digital tech is now at the coronary heart of our every day lives, as any person who has swapped their office environment for a videoconferencing monitor or downloaded a call-tracing application, appreciates only way too nicely.

This pattern is established to keep on even in a submit-COVID earth. Australia is at a crossroads in developing a solid electronic economic system to satisfy this altering environment head-on.

In the text of the computing pioneer Alan Kay, “the greatest way to predict the upcoming is to develop it”.

Australia also needs to grab the option to leverage its investigate and enhancement strengths in emerging digital systems and make a “digital future” by amplifying the options for advancement in this significant sector and improve our sovereign capabilities.

But Australia is lagging driving a lot of other nations in shaping this digital long run.

In a new report launched these days, the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Engineering and Engineering have jointly issued an urgent connect with to action, asking the government and marketplace to figure out the importance of emerging electronic technologies.

The report makes numerous essential tips:

  1. elevate emerging electronic technologies as a nationwide science and innovation precedence
  2. include research and innovation in emerging electronic technologies in the 2021 Analysis Infrastructure Roadmap
  3. figure out rising electronic systems as an independent progress sector.

What technologies should really be encouraged?

The report focuses on rising electronic systems these kinds of as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of matters (IoT), augmented and digital actuality, blockchain, and 5G networks.

These improvements are currently setting up to change industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, squander management, transport, finance, education and learning and health and fitness. But they are even now viewed as “emerging systems” due to the fact they have not however understood their total commercial probable, contrary to extra founded systems these as 3D printing, mobile computing, or GPS.

The upcoming wave of rising electronic systems, such as self-driving motor vehicles, wise microgrids, 6G networks, and quantum computing, will further more disrupt and transform lots of sectors of the economic climate.

Of class, it is difficult to predict specifically what innovations will occur in the long term. But by guaranteeing a strong countrywide aim on basic science and engineering in this quick-evolving space, Australia can make sure it stays forward of the curve, no matter what the potential delivers.

What are other nations executing?

The difficulty is that Australia is at present undertaking the reverse. It is falling behind nations around the world such as the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, and China, all of which are prioritizing electronic systems as a tactic to bolster their world-wide competitiveness.

Digital innovation accounts for only 7.4% of Australia’s gross domestic product or service (GDP), as opposed with an OECD ordinary of 11.2%.




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Australia’s digital competitiveness is slipping. Here’s how we can catch up


The purposes of rising electronic technologies will go on to diversify and improve. Analysis and innovation in rising electronic systems should really not be artificially sure to unique application regions nor extremely concentration on today’s demands, as undertaking so limitations innovation prospective that could usually build fully new industries and positions.

At the very same time, emerging electronic technologies proceed to outpace social expectations and regulatory frameworks. Australia’s electronic divide proceeds to widen, and people with decreased money, employment, and training proceed to fall at the rear of. This challenge is probably to compound our looming scarcity of digitally proficient personnel and widen current inequalities.

Accomplishing digital literacy and inclusion via education and workforce improvement are crucial for Australia to meet its commitments to the United Nations’ Sustainable Growth Targets, and to ensure the growth of a digitally literate, very experienced workforce.

Australians are early adopters and avid people of engineering — a trend that has been accelerated by the COVID pandemic. And the federal government’s Digital Economic system Approach is by now placing A$1.2 billion into critical electronic abilities these as artificial intelligence and drone systems.

This investment is welcome, but the authorities will have to also plainly recognise the value of setting up scientific and engineering abilities in methods that underpin the entire digital financial state, not just particular systems.




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Elevating emerging electronic technologies as a national science priority will elevate their importance, the two in financial commitment and in narrative, create study and progress strengths, provide significant investigate infrastructure, and be a catalyst for creating new tech firms and supporting existing organizations by way of improved linkages amongst study and field. By way of recognition of a progress sector, it can support to draw in talent and address future talent desires of the nation.

A very digitised culture will demand world-course leadership in producing digital systems, and lower our reliance on overseas technologies and expertise. Coordinated and strategic help of this crucial sector of our overall economy will assistance generate a electronic foreseeable future for Australia that is aligned with our social and economic aspirations.

Shazia Sadiq, Professor, The University of Queensland and Thas Ampalavanapillai Nirmalathas, Professor of Electrical and Digital Engineering, The University of Melbourne

By Shazia Sadiq, The College of Queensland and Thas Ampalavanapillai Nirmalathas, The College of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation underneath a Creative Commons license. Read the initial post.