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AI and the Future of Governance: An interview with Professor Eduard Hovy, University of Melbourne

5 Oct 2023

Within the next decade, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will transform the public purpose sector. Leaders across academia, Commonwealth and State governments, and risk management will convene at IPAA Victoria’s AI and the Future of Governance half-day event to consider the emerging risks and opportunities of utilising AI in the workplace. IPAA Victoria interviewed Professor Eduard Hovy, University of Melbourne, and explored the importance of AI.

The impact of implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) is far-reaching and has the potential to be a revolutionary force for the way the public purpose sector operates at a business-as-usual level and a whole-of-sector scale. It is crucial for professionals to have an understanding of its history, implications and potential applications.   

Ahead of IPAA Victoria’s upcoming event AI and the Future of Governance, we had the opportunity to interview Professor Eduard Hovy, Executive Director of Melbourne Connect and Professor at the University of Melbourne, to discuss the importance of learning the history of AI, and to hear his views on AI’s impact in the public sector. 

Professor Hovy emphasises the importance of public awareness when it comes to AI and comments that it is crucial for society to comprehend AI’s capabilities and limitations. For instance, AI is not poised to replace jobs entirely, but it will transform some professions. Preparing for these changes requires an understanding of AI’s background, history and potential. 

Further integrating AI into the ways of working for the public sector and government poses unique challenges, added by Professor Hovy. While AI can streamline interactions and improve efficiency, it must be regulated and controlled. Government employees require guidelines and accountability. AI is gradually making its way into government operations, but the process is cautious and deliberate. 

I think we’re going to see an uptake of this kind of new AI, generative AI in the government, but at a slower pace than in society and in companies. But it’s going to be much more controlled and sort of limited in use, but probably very helpful.

Professor Eduard Hovy, Executive Director, Melbourne Connect, University of Melbourne 

When asked what key takeaways the participants can expect from the upcoming event, Professor Hovy hopes to convey two critical messages. First, he aims to demystify generative AI, making it more accessible and understandable to the audience. Second, he hopes to inspire attendees to explore creative ways to incorporate AI into their work, utilising it to tackle repetitive tasks and enhance productivity. 

Meanwhile, with many public sector professionals and industry experts attending the event, Professor Hovy also looks forward to hearing about people’s aspirations and challenges regarding AI, as these insights will fuel future research and innovation, driving AI’s evolution to improve and simplify our lives. 

Below are some video snippets capturing the highlights of our chat with Professor Hovy.  

What are the most frequently asked questions about AI? 

How will the development and use of AI tools impact the public sector and government?  


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