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AI Attitudes in Australia

Datacom research report

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not new, but as uptake grows and businesses adopt more advanced, generative AI technologies, it is important to evaluate if we have the right governance in place to balance the risks and rewards. We also need a forward-looking approach from both industry and government to ensure Australia remains competitive.

Datacom commissioned a survey of 318 senior business leaders in Australia to understand rates of AI adoption, maturity of existing AI governance and security, appetite for AI-specific legislation and which sectors are seen to hold the greatest opportunities and risks for AI use.

Q. Do you currently use any form of AI within your business?

AI use within Australian organisations

Australian organisations are embracing AI, with nearly three-quarters (72%) of business leaders confirming that AI is already in use within their organisation.​

However, of those surveyed 21% stated their organisation is yet to embark on its AI journey, with a further 7% saying they are unsure whether it is in use at all.​

72% yes, 21% no, 7% unsure

Q. What are your personal views of AI?

Are Australian business leaders supportive of AI?

The majority of Australian business leaders are excited about AI and support its use within their organisation. ​

A quarter of business leaders feel they need to learn more about AI, while just 3% say they have no interest in AI whatsoever and don't support it.​

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Key concerns around AI use

Security, safety concerns around control of AI tools and ethics ranked as the top three concerns, with bias and unemployment also featuring as a key concern.

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    Security (60%)

    We don’t know what implication AI might have.
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    Safety (60%)

    Uncertainty around control, or loss of control, of AI.
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    Ethics (45%)

    Questions around the use of AI in wider society.
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    Bias (41%)

    AI algorithms reflecting human biases.
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    Unemployment (41%)

    Less job opportunities for Australians.

Q. Do you feel well educated on the risks of AI from a security standpoint?

Understanding the security risks of AI

While the majority of Australian business leaders (80%) are aware of the security implications around AI, there is a need for further education with one in five business leaders saying they don’t feel well educated on the security risks AI may pose for their organisation.​

80% yes, 20% no

Policies and procedures around AI use

Across the board, the foundation for effective and safe use of AI hasn’t been laid – particularly in the areas of staff use policies and risk awareness. In addition, strategy around AI use also appears to be lacking, with 58% of organisations having no targets around the use of AI, making its success difficult to measure.​

Q. If your business is already using AI, do you have any of the following in place?

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Q. Do you believe your business will struggle to adapt to the fast-changing environment caused by AI?

Ability to keep pace with AI

Overall, Australian business leaders are cautious about the current ability of their business to keep pace with the rapid change AI is predicted to bring. ​

Over half of business leaders (58%) believe they will struggle to adapt to the AI revolution and (63%) think internal AI specialists are needed to incorporate AI into the business. ​

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Q. What is your view on employees AI tools such as ChatGPT (generative AI) to carry out their work tasks?

Employee use of AI

While one in five business leaders are opposed to their employees using AI tools in the workplace, a huge number (69%) are supportive of its use.

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Q. What is your view on employees AI tools such as ChatGPT (generative AI) to carry out their work tasks?

Employee use of AI

The vast majority of business leaders (86%) are supportive  when it comes to employee use of generative AI tools in the workplace. 

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Is Australia ready for the AI revolution?

When asked whether Australia is well placed to adapt to the AI revolution, business leaders are optimistic.​

74% said they believe Australia is ready to embrace AI, leaving a cautious quarter (26%) that think more needs to be done for Australia to be AI-ready.​

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The opportunity for AI in Australia

Q. AI can be used in almost any industry. Below are some of the key industries which could adopt AI technology – which sector do you think carries the greatest opportunity to society at large?

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The sectors where AI use creates potential risks for society

Q. AI can be used in almost any industry. Below are some of the key industries which could adopt AI technology – which sector do you think carries the greatest risks to society at large?

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Legislating the Government’s use of AI in Australia - is it needed?

Q. Do you believe the government should bring in specific legislation or controls around the use of AI within government and/or the public sector?

Almost 90% of business leaders believe the government should bring in specific legislation and controls around the use of AI within government and / or the public sector. 

11% no, 89% yes

Q. Will the integration of AI within businesses in Australia impact operations and workforce structure?

How will AI impact the Australian workforce…

86% of business leaders believe the integration of AI within AU businesses will impact operations and workplace structures. ​

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Q. Is your business ready to incorporate AI and do you predict that your business will require AI specialists??

Nearly two-thirds (63%) predict their business will require AI specialists.

25% of business leaders predict they won't need AI specialists.

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Future plans around AI use

Q. If your business is NOT already using AI, when do you plan to incorporate it into your operations?

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Methodology

The following research findings are based on a survey of 318 Australian business decision makers for IT services.​ Research was conducted between 10 July to 19 July 2023 by Antenna, an independent research agency. The survey data collection was nationally representative, and respondents were sourced using an accredited online business to business research access panel. ​

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