As many as 70% of Australians worry that they may lose their jobs to artificial intelligence (AI), according to a new report by The Lab Insight & Strategy, an Australian cultural insights agency.
In a new special edition report titled ‘Australia’s AI Cultural Crossroads’, the agency conducted an online survey on 1,000 Australians aged 18 and above to learn about their perspectives on AI.
According to the survey, nearly one in two Aussies have used generative AI technologies, like the hit chatbot ChatGPT, for “practical purposes”. This is thanks to how easy it is to trial these technologies, which have been a “major influence and ultimate persuasion of its usefulness, ease, and potential application to everyday lives.”
90% believe that AI will have some sort of impact on their job or industry over the next five years, and 61% believe that AI-generated content will “devalue the work of human creators.”
Young Aussies are at the forefront
Young Australians aged 25 and under are at the “forefront” of trying out AI, says the ‘AI Cultural Crossroads’ report. The report also claims that this demographic is not afraid of AI’s potential to bring about “fresh objectivity” in spaces where the general public’s trust has been eroded, such as politics.
“Young Australians who identify as having a strong/deep understanding of AI are nearly 2.5 times more likely than others to probably or definitely consider voting for an AI-driven political candidate over a human candidate,” noted the report.
That’s right, if the political climate in the country becomes dire, some wouldn’t mind voting for an AI-powered robot politician.
Some Aussies are open to AI
Collaborating with AI to accomplish tasks? Sure, why not? Aussies are most “receptive” to work together with AI to enhance every day decision-making.
The areas that Aussies see themselves utilising AI in the near future are: shopping (55%), travel (43%), work (34%), and education (31%). When it comes to finding love, 45% were open to handing their fate over to AI. When it comes to predicting and fighting crime, 61% were open to using AI for assistance.
One in two Aussies are also open to trusting AI for financial advice. This is provided that the machine tailors its advice to their portfolio, individual preferences, financial goals, and so on.
… while some are not
However, a significant portion of Aussies possess a grim outlook on AI. 26% of Aussies believe that “there is more than a 10% chance of human extinction resulting from our inability to control AI.”
This attitude may seem a little farfetched to some, but it’s not without justification. In May, over 200 industry leaders in AI – including Sam Altman, Geoffrey Hinton, and executives from DeepMind and Microsoft – signed a statement calling for the mitigation of the risk of extinction from AI.
In March, over 1,400 technology leaders and academics including Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak signed an open letter urging a pause in training of advanced AI. As many as 61% of Aussies “echoed support for AI development to be paused,” noted the report.
Some Australians attribute AI’s risks to mankind’s proclivity for evil. “A lot of advances in technology start out with good intentions but then people find ways to use it for evil purposes,” wrote a respondent.
We are viewing AI with “cautious optimism”
Overall, the report claims that Australians’ current attitude towards AI is that of “cautious optimism” (49%). While there is enthusiasm towards AI’s potential, that enthusiasm is “tempered by a lack of trust, confidence, and sufficient safeguards to address the potential societal risks posed by AI systems.”
“Until there is a better understanding, there will be fear and hope in equal doses,” wrote a respondent in the survey.