QUT is part of a consortium involving the State Government, universities and industry leaders behind a new centre aimed at building Queensland’s artificial intelligence capabilities.
The Queensland Government has invested $5.5M in the new facility to supercharge the state’s artificial intelligence capability, with its immediate focus being on the use of AI during the COVID-19 crisis. It will also help build the state’s AI capabilities and generate employment.
Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur Leanne Kemp said she was looking forward to working with the AI startups that will be nurtured by the centre’s new managers, AI Consortium.
She said the AI Consortium founders were all business technology specialists that already deliver innovative AI programs in Queensland – they include Max Kelsen, IntelliHQ, KJR, 9 Points and AiKademi. Their partners include QUT, University of Queensland and KPMG.
Ms Kemp said that in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the centre’s launch was entirely virtual and kicked off with a webinar on COVID-19 and AI work in the area last month.
“The audience included many tech heavy hitters talking about how AI can be integrated into healthcare,” Ms Kemp said.
“Tech experts bear enormous responsibility in these testing times and this webinar will underscore what is at stake and perhaps even crystallise some ideas.”
The panel included Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen, who heads up QUT’s Centre for Data Science, along with the founder of Fast.AI, Mr Jeremy Howard, who has the world tuned into his YouTube presentations on coronavirus, Dr Brent Richards who is helping steer Queensland’s ICU plans forCOVID-19, Dr Sally Shrapnel, AI lead on COVID-19 international data collection project, and a handful of others from related fields.
AI Consortium’s Dr Kelvin Ross said artificial intelligence could help screen and monitor disease progression, including Covid-19, and recommend personalised treatments, which could well save countries billions of dollars in hospital care.
“AI researchers are investigating mechanisms to detect Covid-19, mine medical literature for diagnostics and treatments, model molecular structure of drugs and vaccines, and help with planning within our hospitals.” he said.
“AI is a fast-growing industry, expected to be worth over US$202 billion by 2026. We want a piece of that economic pie.”
Professor Marek Kowalkiewicz will lead QUT’s efforts to engage a myriad of the university’s AI experts participation in the AI Hub.
“This is a great outcome for QUT and for all of Queensland,” said Professor Kowalkiewicz who was involved in the planning for the hub from the beginning and is the founding director of QUT’s Centre for the Digital Economy.
“Now more than ever our digital literacy and understanding for how AI can drive economic growth is pertinent to how Queensland navigates through a post COVID-19 era.”
The Queensland AI Hub is part of a multi-million-dollar expansion of The Precinct, which includes an additional level of the TC Beirne building in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. The hub will take up over 500 square metres of the new floor space.