CLINT STANAWAY: Welcome back to Weekend Today. Amazing to have your company on this Sunday morning students in New South Wales public schools will be banned from accessing the artificial intelligence program at Chat GPT when school goes back next week. This all comes amid heated debate from teachers and parents about the impact this sophisticated AI tech on kids and learning. Let's bring in today's talk as Victorian Senator Jane Hume here at Melbourne Park in your hometown. Jane, good morning.
JANE HUME: It's good to be with you.
CLINT STANAWAY: And it's also hello to 4BC’s Sophie Formica in Brisbane.
SOPHIE FORMICA: Good morning. Apologies for my croaky throat. I may have been one of the many thousands of people singing along to Elton John's final concert last night.
CLINT STANAWAY: But can you give us an encore a little bit later? Jane first you this program has said the education sector into a bit of a tailspin. Would you support a ban here in Victoria, in your state?
JANE HUME: Well, I don't know whether a ban is a permanent ban is the right idea and certainly New South Wales are talking about a temporary ban until they find out how best to use this technology, because the opportunities are endless. I don't know whether you've had a play with it before?
CLINT STANAWAY: We did last weekend on the show, actually.
JANE HUME: It’s fantastic, isn't it? I got it to do it a 1800 word essay on the difference between the Labor Party and the Liberal Party in Australia and it was really good, which is quite frightening. So I think that there's really good opportunity. I used to be the digital economy minister and we did a lot of stuff with AI. There’s some great opportunities here for education, but there's also some risks and we do need to adjust like any other technology,
CLINT STANAWAY: It’s all about harnessing it in a safe way, right. Sophie, to you. Private school students, they're still able to access this program in New South Wales, are they being complacent or is that the better approach do you think?
SOPHIE FORMICA: Yeah, I don't think that that's fair. I don't think this idea that the private school system we're going to go their own way into public school kids don't get access to it as necessarily something that serves anybody particularly well, but I completely agree with Jane. It is a tool and it's a tool that needs to be learned to be used in all settings. Anyone who has a phone or anyone who has their computer knows that AI is already a part of our lives. It will continue to be so it's not going anywhere. The billions of dollars that are being invested by the big tech companies tell us that. So how do we best use it as a tool, and at the same time, look at our education curriculums across the board, to assure that there is still ample place for there to be that problem solving and the critical thinking and that old school way of education that I think is scary to people that the idea is if you can put it all into the computer we lose our ability to think for ourselves. So finding that balance is where I think the conversation needs to go.
CLINT STANAWAY: Okay, moving on. A Melbourne woman has been hit with a $500 fine because she went through an amber light let's check it out.
VIDEO FOOTAGE: Oh, so you learned something new every day and today I learned that it is illegal to drive through an amber light unless it is100% necessary to do so.
CLINT STANAWAY: Jane, is this fair?
JANE HUME: She's so young. She would have said her driver's license only a few months ago by the looks of things. How does she not know that it's not red means stop? Green means go and that means we don't really put your foot on it. It means slow down and do something sensible. Although I will admit that here in Victoria the police are pretty tough, they are pretty tough. I actually got pulled over for erratic driving around Albert Park Lake.
CLINT STANAWAY: Did you think you were in the Grand Prix?
JANE HUME: No, I was stopping to look at the ducklings and the cygnets. It was springtime and there were all these little babies everywhere. Anyway, I got fined for that. Believe it or not, that wasn't a good enough excuse when I told the policeman that was what I was doing.
CLINT STANAWAY: Yeah, Sophie there is that sort of you know, do I go do I stay back? Let's admit it, we've all had that last bit of panic.
SOPHIE FORMICA: Absolutely. Especially if they're the cameras anywhere and you're worried that you're going to end up over the line and then it's like, well do I just do it anyway? I can understand why she was upset, $500 is an awful lot of money. So I get her reaction. I remember when I was teaching my kids to drive and we were talking about the traffic lights and even with green green doesn't mean go, green means proceed with caution look both ways because you still don't know what could be facing you in an intersection. So maybe education campaigns need to be coming back on board for Victoria and drivers to remind them what the three lights actually require them to do.
CLINT STANAWAY: Now to some of the biggest news of the morning, Jane. Controversial news, you might have heard McCain. they've done it again. They've released a Vegemite pizza. Have they gone too far? Are you a Vegemite fan?
JANE HUME: Am I a Vegemite fan? It's the champagne of breakfasts. I don't know why you would mess with perfection. Just a little bit on not too much, you don't want to spoil it but just enough on your toast. What more do you need? Don't mess with it.
CLINT STANAWAY: So it’s a yes for pizza?
JANE HUME: No, it’s a no for pizza. It’s a no for shapes, it’s a no for everything.
CLINT STANAWAY: You’d one of those no pineapple on pizza, kind of girls as well.
JANE HUME: Actually I love my pineapple.
CLINT STANAWAY: Oh ok alright, you’re excused. Sophie, will you be grabbing one of these?
SOPHIE FORMICA: I don't know if I'll be grabbing one of those. But yes, I'm a lover of the Vegemite and I do enjoy putting it in unusual places. It is a fantastic talkback radio fodder. Let me tell you Clint. You used to mention the word Vegemite and what people want to do with it and the phone lines just go crazy. This really is just another exercise I think this year of the branding brains of Vegemite partnering up with some of our most loved brands to celebrate their big 100 year anniversary. So I dare say that there will be more places that will be finding Vegemite and more partnerships with Vegemite into the future like anywhere. I don't get the whole Vegemite and chocolate thing like the sweet and sour. You can't convince me. But you know we were talking earlier about you know, maybe Vegemite cocktails like could you use Vegemite in a martini instead of an Olive for example?
CLINT STANAWAY: I've got a friend who puts Vegemite in a Bloody Mary, and it's bloody marvelous.
SOPHIE FORMICA: There you go, instead of the worcestershire. So I think we need to get more creative, not less creative.
CLINT STANAWAY: Yeah, it's a national treasure. Put it wherever you want. Sophie, thank you so much. Jane, great to see you in person.