A new survey commissioned by digital magazine and newspaper subscription app Readly has brought to light Australians’ overwhelming preference for AI use to be limited in critical sectors such as journalism and more.
Over 1000 Aussies found that concerns tended to outweigh optimism when it comes to AI-enhanced technology. Only 24 per cent of respondents were optimistic about its benefits, compared to a combined 62 per cent who were either worried or had mixed feelings.
Readly head of content Chris Couchman, “These insights underscore the importance of human touch and oversight particularly in sectors like journalism and teaching. Australians are happy to embrace technology when it has clear benefits to our daily lives, but are wary of overreliance on AI in areas where human judgment plays an important role. The appearance of AI in highly sensitive and important industries like journalism and the legal sector is a cause of concern for many Australians.”
The use of AI in Journalism appears to be contentious for most Australians, with a mere 10 per cent seeing the benefits compared to the 30 per cent who deemed it harmful. Similarly AI’s use in the legal/judicial world was regarded negatively with only 12 per cent of respondents agreeing it would be of benefit to those working in the field compared to the 37 per cent who were against its use.
AI has proven to be controversial for its ability to generate fake news and undermine democratic institutions. Media organisations continue to grapple with the ubiquitous impact of AI in a bid to preserve accurate reporting, with some going as far as to limit AI from accessing web content.
Social companionship through AI was another divisive point, with only 17 per cent of respondents saying the use of AI to fulfill social/companionship needs was a good thing in contrast to the 34 per cent of Australians who believed it was harmful.
Men were more likely to trust in AI with 32% saying AI is largely beneficial compared to just 16 per cent of women.
Seniors aged 60 and above were also notably wary about AI use. A mere 13 per cent considered AI to be beneficial, whereas 38 per cent voiced concerns over its presence in smart-home technology.
Interestingly, while many Aussies were on guard against AI’s potentially harmful effects, 36 per cent still believed it was of great use in smart-home devices and medical technology. Other areas where AI was regarded to be the most useful include research (35 per cent), cybersecurity (31 per cent), and tech/coding (30 per cent) rounding out the top five.
While 43 per cent of Australians agreed that they were uncomfortable with the use of AI in banking/financial services, more than half (52 per cent) of those over 60 shunned its use in banking, indicating a preference for humans to be in charge when it comes to finances. Echoing this preference, 30 per cent of Australians said they felt the use of AI in teaching did more harm than good. In stark contrast, only 15 per cent of Australians said AI was harmful in the use of more solitary work like agriculture.
Couchman added, “At Readly our commitment has always been to preserving quality journalism. While we believe AI has a place in the publishing industry, we understand that its integration must be approached judiciously. Our survey shows that Aussies likewise believe that AI has a place in various sectors – the trick is to put it to work in a way that achieves balanced outcomes for all.”