Australia lags behind in AI: OpenText

Tuesday, 03 July, 2018

Australia lags behind in AI: OpenText

The majority of Australians are not yet convinced about the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, according to new research.

Despite voice assistants like Siri and Alexa growing in popularity, the OpenText survey of 1000 Australians found that only 21% were excited about the technology, while 19% stated that AI makes them nervous.

However, respondents recognised the value of intelligent automation in reducing waiting times, admin and errors within the public sector. As such, the majority (56%) of respondents are convinced that the government will work with robots within 10 years. This is higher than the USA (where only 38% think this will occur in the next 10 years) but contrasts with the Netherlands, where 73% believe robots will be in the public sector within the next 10 years.

Of the Australians surveyed, 27% believe that AI would make better decisions than elected government representatives, but want humans to make final decisions.

More than one in three (39%) Australians are ready to work alongside a robot, with 25% saying they would encourage their employer to leverage robots if it meant reducing their day-to-day admin tasks.

Only one in 10 respondents were worried that their job could be replaced by a robot, and the majority (56%) are convinced their role will never be taken over by automation. This suggests a greater inclination to work alongside robotic or intelligent technology.

The survey found that 28% of Australians think AI in health care makes it possible to obtain more accurate diagnoses, while 21% believe it can deliver faster results. In fact, over one in three would trust a diagnosis via artificial intelligence.

The research found that Europeans may be further along their AI journey, with 55% of respondents in Spain, 48% in France and 47% in the Netherlands suggesting the key benefit of AI in health care is its preciseness. Australia ranked on par with American, Canadian and UK consumers, with 24%, 26% and 26% respectively.

Only one in three Australians believe autonomous vehicles would make roads safer, and just 24% would be comfortable in an autonomous or self-driving vehicle.

“AI technology is here to stay. Businesses are turning to digital transformation, healthcare organisations are embracing medical technology innovations and, as a result, AI is filtering into every aspect of our lives. More and more Australians are seeing the benefits this will bring to the workplace and our wider lives. By performing more menial, repetitive tasks, automation and robotics allow us to be more efficient and save time,” said Mike Lord, Vice President, Australia and New Zealand at OpenText.

“Sci-fi movies tend to distort the consequences of AI technology. It’s time to stop viewing AI as an existential threat to our livelihoods and our health. AI will transform the workplace, as menial tasks are digitised through robotics and process automation, but AI will never replace people. The true value of AI lies in its ability to work alongside humans to relieve work pressure, but also in the health system, with the goal of bringing comfort to everyday life.”

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