Despite industry enthusiasm for technologies which can think for themselves, Australian consumers remain cautious or unaware of the opportunities of AI technologies, according to a study commissioned by OpenText.

“Analysts agree, with Forrester predicting investments in AI will grow 300 per cent in 2017. However, our research shows a considerable disconnect between the industry’s excitement over new, cognitive systems and public perception,” said Mike Lord, VP, Australia and New Zealand, OpenText.

According to Lord, this shows a “considerable disconnect” between the industry’s excitement over new, cognitive systems and public perception.

In healthcare there is a way to go before patients trust AI systems with their treatment. Almost half (43 per cent) would trust the diagnosis of AI technology, though the majority of those would want the diagnosis to be reaffirmed by a doctor.

Conversely, 41 per cent confessed they weren’t yet sure they would place any trust in AI.

In customer services a massive 86.5 per cent of respondents prefer service from a human than a robot.

The survey findings show that almost half would be comfortable working alongside a robot but a strong majority (71 per cent) are opposed to their employers hiring robot colleagues if it meant a reduction in their daily administration tasks.

In government, 73 per cent of Australian respondents think robots and intelligent automation will be working inside parliament within the next twenty years. 18 per cent believe this will happen within the next one to two years.

When asked if robots and AI would make better decisions than elected government representatives, 36 per cent of respondents disagreed, suggesting robots could never replace humans because they’re unable to assess cultural nuances.

34 per cent admitted they were unsure, while 21 per cent said robots should be involved but humans were required to make important decisions. Only 9 per cent agreed that robots could replace humans, believing they were better placed to analyse data.

The highest levels of optimism can be seen in the automotive space, as 36 per cent believe there will be more driverless and autonomous cars than normal cars within 10 to 15 years.

58 per cent think autonomous cars would make the roads safer and 62 per cent said they would be happy to drive in (or follow) a driverless car that obeyed every traffic law, without question. But 42 per cent said they would be uncomfortable being a passenger in one of these cars.

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