Google has announced the launch of the Digital Future Initiative, a five-year plan to invest in Australian research and infrastructure. It is hoped the plan will encourage economic and technological growth.
This week Google revealed they will invest $1 billion into a plan they’re calling the Digital Future Initiative. The Initiative, which will be rolled out across Australia over five years in hopes of developing the nation’s technology and infrastructure.
“Australia can help lead the world’s next wave of innovation, harnessing technology to improve lives, create jobs, and make progress,” explained Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Notably, Google unveiled plans to establish its Google Research Australia, the company’s first Australian research hub. The multinational tech company will employ a team of researchers and engineers to explore the capabilities of AI and machine learning.
Much of the investment will go towards innovating technology, including a partnership with the Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Google’s partnership with the CSIRO will “tackle challenges like natural hazard management, energy and protecting our precious Great Barrier Reef,” according to Google’s statement.
The partnership between Google and the CSIRO plans to develop artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor underwater reefs more efficiently and accurately. They hope to specifically learn about crown-of-thorn starfish, which eat coral and threaten reef ecosystems.
“CSIRO solves Australia’s greatest challenges through innovative science and technology, but our partnerships with industry are what makes those solutions real—because when industry innovates Australia grows,” said CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall.
“CSIRO’s science makes life better for every Australian, and when amplified by Google’s technology it will catalyse collaborative projects across our entire national innovation system, driving opportunity for businesses of all sizes across every market.”
Google will also work with Macquarie University to research quantum computing to design more efficient batteries, among other research exploits.
In their statement unveiling the Digital Futures Initiative, Google says the plan could support 28,057 jobs across Australia, with predictions the total economic impact will amass to over $6 billion.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison supports the plan but emphasises the importance of digital safety as technology advances.
“We need to apply the same rules to the digital world that exist in the real world. And that is a challenge for governments,” said Mr Morrison.
“There must be an equal amount of effort into making sure the digital world is safe and secure and trusted.”
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