New AI centre to partner with Australian business

| September 16, 2021

A new centre will empower Australian industry to embrace the rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence research and innovation.

RMIT’s Centre for Industrial AI Research and Innovation (CIAIRI) will bring leading researchers in AI together with industry partners to help them harness the latest digital technologies, and develop new ones, to meet their business needs.

CIAIRI Research Director, Professor John Thangarajah said the centre would work with partners to find tailored and innovative ways to translate research into impact within their organisation.

“Our main aim is to translate the latest research into practise, so innovation will be at the centre of all our activities,” he said.

“Australia has a strong focus on upskilling our workforce and we are also looking forward to developing people’s skills and understanding of these evolving and exciting new digital technologies.”

CIARI’s recently appointed Director, Professor Juerg von Kaenel, said the centre would bring national and global industry partners together with AI experts and researchers from across disciplines.

“We are looking forward to working with our industry partners to bring AI from a future promise of nirvana to a pragmatic approach that will solve today’s business needs,” he said.

 “Now that we’ve digitized so much and have the ability to capture so much data, AI innovations can help us push things to the next level.

“We now have the opportunity to look at how we can make the technology ‘smarter’ by using that data to make recommendations and decisions via AI.

“Our vision is to augment the human as a user of these exciting tools, rather than replacing the human all-together.”

Professor Thangarajah said a challenge has been to remove the hype and fear around Artificial Intelligence and help people understand the actual opportunities ahead.

“New things are exciting but can also be scary so part of CIAIRI’s responsibility will be to overcome that fear barrier for consumers,” he said.

“We are keen to help people understand the huge benefits of AI and give them the skills to take advantage of them.

 “We want people to ask, ‘What can AI do to empower us and how can we work with the technology to make things better for us?’”

“As an example, look at how far we’ve come from using the printed road maps like Melway to digitised maps like Google maps – this digitisation has created more jobs, more opportunities and more exciting ways for us to progress as a society.”

CIAIRI’s focus areas include:

  • Autonomous decision systems
  • Robotics and human collaboration
  • Machine learning
  • Augmented reality and games
  • Computer vision
  • Data science and business models
  • Natural language processing
  • Ethics of AI technologies
CIARI Leadership team
Centre Director – Professor Juerg von Kaenel

Professor von Kaenel has a 36-year career in IBM Research labs from Zurich, over Yorktown Heights, to building the IBM Australia Lab from 2011 to over a hundred researchers. He is passionate about building tools which assist people in their jobs, hobbies and lives.

Director of Research – Professor John Thangarajah

A world-leading researcher in autonomous decision-making systems, Professor Thangarajah  has two decades of experience in AI research covering a broad range of AI technologies. John has won several awards for his research as well as in innovative and passionate leadership.

Deputy Director -Rita Arrigo
A digital strategist with a reputation for her ability to lead digital transformation projects in the public and private sector. Arrigo is a sought-after speaker, commentator, broadcaster and mentor across the IT sector and in the broader leadership community.
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