On October 24, Microsoft (MSFT.O) announced its commitment to invest A$5 billion ($3.2 billion) for the expansion of its artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing capabilities in Australia over the next two years. This comprehensive initiative encompasses skills training and cybersecurity.
The U.S. technology leader disclosed its intent to increase computing capacity in Australia by 250%, allowing the world’s 13th-largest economy to meet the rising demand for this practice, which involves storing data on a separate network, is projected to double from 2022 to 2026, as AI continues to gain prominence.
Microsoft Plans to Invest $3.2 Billion in Australia
Microsoft’s investment serves as an effort to establish goodwill in a nation that initiated public discussions this year about AI regulation, a term often used to depict rapid automation. This comes after the tech world was taken aback in 2022 by ChatGPT, a lifelike language program backed by Microsoft’s OpenAI.
In addition to the A$5 billion commitment, Microsoft plans to assist in training 300,000 Australians in skills essential for thriving in the digital economy. They also intend to extend an agreement for sharing cyber threat information with the Australian Signals Directorate, the country’s cybersecurity agency.
Microsoft’s Vice Chairman and President, Brad Smith, stated that the investment plan demonstrates their dedication to the country’s progress and success in the era of AI.
Generative AI’s Economic Potential in Australia
Microsoft’s Managing Director for Australia, Steven Worrall, expressed that this investment would contribute to both a more secure digital economy and a platform for promoting growth and innovation in the AI era.
While the company did not provide specific spending details for the A$5 billion, they did mention a significant expansion of their computing capacity. Microsoft also plans to increase its data center presence in Australia, growing from 20 sites to 29.
A recent report, co-authored by Microsoft, indicated that generative AI, a type of automation that adjusts to new data, has the potential to add up to A$115 billion annually to Australia’s economy by 2030 if adopted swiftly.
Australia currently lacks specific AI regulations, although copyright lawyers and human rights organizations have emphasized the need for some safeguards to prevent bias, copyright violations, and privacy breaches.
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