Australia is lagging behind the world in artificial intelligent regulation, one expert has warned.

Speaking at the annual International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), Toby Walsh, Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales, said regulation in AI was a key area of complacency on the part of the Australian government.

"We need to consider more forcibly regulating the tech sector," he said.

Australia was lagging behind countries such as the UK and US, which have conducted reviews on AI regulation; and Canada and European countries which have already implemented AI regulation in certain areas, said Walsh.

"AI is global, it is not particular to any one country.

"The world needs to better coordinate regulation," he said.

However, not every expert agreed regulation was necessary. Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science Professor Tuomas Sandholm said regulating AI as it is being developed was premature and would stifle its growth.

"Autonomous weapons and privacy are the only areas where AI needs to be regulated; that is, regulating data and military equipment.

"These are related to broader industries and do not just include AI," he said.

ACS was one of the organisers of IJCAI, along with University of Technology. The event was sponsored by prominent institutions including the University of Melbourne, CSIRO and RMIT, and hosted keynote speeches, panels and workshops – including a presentation addressing the heated topic of autonomous weapons.

Though we are far off from a fully automated world, this year's IJCAI showed just how pervasive AI is predicted to be, and in turn, what the future of regulation is.

"It's hard to think of a part of our lives that won't be impacted by this," Walsh said.

In its 26th year, the week-long conference played host to one of the largest gatherings of AI experts across the globe from a range of industries such as healthcare, education and robotics.

This year's conference focused on autonomy in AI, in particular, establishing regulation as AI becomes increasingly autonomous.