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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the cornerstone technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and is enabling rapid innovation with many potential benefits for Australian society (e.g. enhanced healthcare diagnostics, transportation optimisation) and business (e.g. enhanced efficiency and competitiveness). The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the uptake of advanced technology, and investment in AI continues to grow exponentially.

AI also poses considerable risks and challenges to society which raises concerns about whether AI systems are worthy of trust. These concerns have been fuelled by high profile cases of AI use that were biased, discriminatory, manipulative, unlawful, or violated privacy or other human rights. Without public confidence that AI is being developed and used in an ethical and trustworthy manner, it will not be trusted and its full potential will not be realised. To echo the sentiment of Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia’s Chief Scientist, acceptance of AI rests on “the essential foundation of trust”. Are we capable of extending our trust to AI?

This national survey is the first to take a deep dive into answering this question and understanding community trust and expectations in relation to AI. To do this, we surveyed a nationally representative sample of over 2,500 Australian citizens in June to July 2020. Our findings provide important and timely research insights into the public’s trust and attitudes towards AI and lay out a pathway for strengthening trust and acceptance of AI systems.

Key findings include:

              - Trust is central to the acceptance of AI, and is influenced by four key drivers;
              - Australians have low trust in AI systems but generally ‘accept’ or ‘tolerate’ AI;
              - Australians expect AI to be regulated and carefully managed;
              - Australians expect organisations to uphold the principles of trustworthy AI;
              - Australians feel comfortable with some but not all uses of AI at work;
              - Australians want to know more about AI but currently have low awareness and understanding of AI and its uses.

Related Information

Trust in artificial intelligence: a global study https://apo.org.au/node/321996

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