Is AI Safety a Top Priority for Australians? Survey Reveals Insights

In this post:

  • The Roy Morgan SMS Survey reveals that 57% of Australians believe AI creates more problems than it solves.
  • 20% of respondents fear AI could lead to human extinction within two decades.
  • Females, older Australians, and regional residents were found to be more skeptical about AI among Australian demographics.

In a comprehensive survey conducted by Roy Morgan in collaboration with the Campaign for AI Safety, it has been revealed that a significant majority of Australians harbor concerns about the safety of artificial intelligence (AI). The study found that 57% of the respondents believe that AI technology creates more issues than it resolves. Even more startling, the survey highlights that one in five Australians (20%) hold the apprehension that AI could pose a risk of human extinction within the next twenty years.

AI safety perceptions across Australian demographics

The survey underscores the differing perceptions of AI safety among various demographic groups. Notably, a gender gap emerged, with 62% of females expressing the belief that AI generates more problems than solutions, in comparison to 52% of males who shared this view. Age played a significant role in shaping opinions. An overwhelming majority of those aged over 50 held reservations about AI, with 65% of 50-64-year-olds and 64% of those aged 65 and above concurring that AI technology is more problematic than beneficial. In contrast, a slender majority of respondents below 35 (51%) subscribed to this viewpoint.

Geographical location also factored into the perception divide. Individuals residing in regional and rural areas demonstrated a greater degree of skepticism toward AI, with 61% of respondents from these areas concurring that AI generates more problems than solutions. This sentiment was slightly lower among urban residents, with 56% of those in capital cities sharing the same belief.

While the majority of Australians (80%) did not perceive AI as a risk to human existence in the next two decades, a significant proportion (20%) expressed deep concerns about the potential for AI to lead to human extinction. The data, while consistent across different demographics, highlighted certain groups with heightened fears. Respondents aged 50-64 were more likely (25%) to anticipate the risk of human extinction due to AI, as were those in specific regions such as Tasmania (37%), Western Australia and Perth (both 26%), and Melbourne (24%).

Interestingly, there was a clear correlation between those who believed that AI creates more problems than solutions and those who perceived it as a threat to human survival. A striking 28% of respondents who subscribed to the former view also believed that AI could lead to human extinction, compared to only 10% among those who disagreed.

Drivers of concerns and hopes in technology’s impact

Among the respondents who believed that AI technology creates more problems than it solves (57% of the total), several key reasons emerged. The foremost concern was the potential for job losses due to AI implementation, reflecting the fear that automation could replace human workers. Following closely was the perceived need for rigorous regulation to address the ethical and safety implications of AI. Respondents expressed concerns about the potential misuse of AI technology.

On the flip side, those who believed that AI technology solves more problems than it creates (43% of respondents) shared their optimism about the potential benefits AI could bring to society. Their viewpoints were grounded in the belief that AI could contribute to the betterment of various aspects of life when used judiciously. These respondents weighed the pros and cons and concluded that the positive impact of AI outweighs the negative aspects.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine highlighted the dual sentiments surrounding AI among Australians. While they acknowledge its potential benefits, concerns about the associated risks, including job displacement and misuse, dominate their perceptions. Levine emphasized the need for robust regulation in the AI sector to address these concerns and strike a balance between progress and safety. The survey results, according to Levine, also underscored the surprising concern of a segment (20%) who believe AI could pose an existential threat to humanity within the next two decades.

Nik Samoylov, coordinator of the Campaign for AI Safety, stressed the widespread apprehension evident in the survey results, particularly regarding job security and the potential for AI misuse. Samoylov echoed the call for government intervention in the form of regulations to navigate these challenges. Also, he highlighted the gravity of the situation by pointing to the one in five Australians who fear AI-induced human extinction in the coming two decades. Samoylov urged prompt regulatory actions to prevent the development of hazardous AI technologies.

AI perception mosaic

The Roy Morgan SMS Survey has illuminated a complex landscape of perceptions surrounding AI safety in Australia. While a significant majority holds reservations about the problems AI may bring, a sizable minority is concerned about the technology’s potential to lead to human extinction. This paradox underscores the delicate balance that must be struck between harnessing AI’s capabilities for societal advancement and ensuring its responsible and safe implementation. As calls for regulation intensify, the challenge lies in addressing these concerns without stifling innovation.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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