Working smarter with data: reasoning with machine learning


In this part of @AuManufacturing‘s ‘Working smarter with data‘ editorial series, Paul Dalby describes the usefulness of machine reasoning.

In Budget 2020-21, the Federal Government announced funding for a $20M Centre for Augmented Reasoning (CAR) to be based in the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) at the University of Adelaide.  

The AIML is the largest machine learning research group in Australia, with over 130 members. It is currently ranked third in the world for computer vision research, based on high quality publications, and regularly wins in global benchmarking competitions in machine learning and computer vision. 

Machine learning describes a suite of tools that learns to detect patterns by being trained on existing data sets. Machine learning underpins a lot of the technology we commonly describe as artificial intelligence (AI), including computer vision, natural language processing, big data analytics and process automation. It is the technology that underpins Siri, Google search, Netflix’s movie recommender and Amazon’s retail and logistics that many people use every day. It is also being used by Australian companies to create new products and support more productivity in the workplace, like LBT Innovation’s APAS diagnostic system, Presagen’s Life Whisperer product for improving IVF outcomes, Consilium’s Gaia system for identifying vineyards and consulting services like Biarri (Australian office) and Max Kelson

The Centre for Augmented Reasoning will combine powerful machine learning tools with another form of AI  – machine reasoning. While machine learning is very good at pattern recognition, it is relatively ‘dumb’ at solving new problems. A combination of machine learning and machine reasoning is already creating powerful new technologies that are much more flexible and capable than traditional forms of machine learning or AI. The new Centre will leverage these capabilities further to develop new and advanced forms of AI. 

The resulting technologies will be more interactive and less frustrating to use than current software systems, more empowering for humans, and require much less technological ‘know-how’ to use. For example, we are moving towards computers that interact with us in language, removing the need for people to learn how to use new software, which might eventually remove the need for navigational interfaces. Enhanced usability and access are important challenges for technology development, and will help to democratise technology in a way that has previously been impossible. 

The Centre for Augmented Reasoning will support Australian companies in pushing their way to the front of global innovation, and in building on our advantage as being one of the first economies to emerge from COVID lockdown. 

This Centre will offer a major boost to the education and innovation capabilities of the University of Adelaide, create new jobs in research, support the South Australian government’s ‘High-Tech Strategy’ and stimulate a whole new generation of high-tech businesses and jobs here in Australia.  

The Centre will be a major drawcard for the smartest young minds in Australia to stay here, and will have a particular focus on increasing female participation in this exciting and dynamic research and industrial field. 

For Australian manufacturers who struggled to survive the ‘dutch disease’ of the last mining boom, we now have an opportunity to rebuild a manufacturing sector that can sustain high wages, grow jobs and compete internationally. As the next generations of AI, augmented reasoning and related technologies are key capabilities that will support this recovery through: 

  • Suppressing costs of production through improved operational efficiency and greater automation 
  • Creating barriers to competition 
  • Improving the perceived value of products manufactured with AI embedded 

The Centre for Augmented Reasoning is another commitment by the Federal Government in building the research and technology base that we need to power the economy of the 21st Century.


Dr Paul Dalby is Business Development Manager at the Australian Institute for Machine Learning.

@AuManufacturing‘s series is brought to you with the support of Fusion5, the largest 5-Star NetSuite Partner in Australia & New Zealand, providing full-featured cloud business management software solutions.

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