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2.2 million Aussies ‘terrified’ by AI

By Orana Durney-Benson
10 November 2023 | 1 minute read
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New research reveals that artificial intelligence (AI) is dividing Australians, with respondents split between concern and optimism.

Across the proptech world, real estate companies have enthusiastically taken up AI. Just this week, a new AI-powered search engine was unveiled, while October saw Harcourts launch a brand-new digital marketing platform fuelled by – you guessed it – AI.

But is the industry’s full steam ahead mindset alienating its customer base?

According to new research by Versent, attitudes towards AI are a mixed bag. When asked to self-select words that best describe their sentiments towards AI, 11 per cent of respondents stated they are “terrified”, while a whopping 42 per cent reported they feel “concerned”.

It isn’t all bad news, though, with positive sentiments making headway too. In total, 37 per cent of respondents said they are “interested in AI, 27 per cent said they are optimistic, and 13 per cent said they are excited.

Participants are particularly wary of businesses using AI in their operations, with only 45 per cent reporting that they trust companies to use AI appropriately.

Kate Wellard, chief marketing officer at Versent, stated: “Before any organisation designs, changes, or communicates about technology, it pays for them to find out first who they are designing it for.

“Many organisations are bullish in the way they communicate their commitment to AI, but we now know that 8.5 million adult Australians are feeling concerned about AI and more than 2.2 million are ‘terrified’.

“It may pay for businesses to moderate their language and approach, to help bring customers and employees along on their journey,” Ms Wellard warned.

Another top concern of respondents is data security, with 85 per cent saying they are worried or very worried about their data being stolen.

Only 16 per cent believe that companies are doing enough to protect customer data, most putting this shortfall down to a reluctance to spend money or time on ensuring data protection.

Despite these widespread anxieties, the research indicated that technology is here to stay.

“Companies might be put off by upgrades because it seems difficult, but tech underpins how we work and engage every day. Clunky tech is not just a source of irritation; it is often a missed opportunity to improve your productivity, profit and brand reputation as well,” Ms Wellard noted.

“Australians are highly comfortable with tech, but we also have high expectations that aren’t always considered and addressed,” she concluded.

2.2 million Aussies ‘terrified’ by AI
modern workplace lw
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