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Australian optimism about AI tops global average – study
Mon, 18th Dec 2023

A study from Zoom, undertaken by Morning Consult, exhibits an intriguing discrepancy in attitudes towards the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) among Australian leaders compared to their global contemporaries. The results demonstrate an overwhelming 93% of Australian leaders are optimistic about AI, outstripping the global average of 88%. However, this positivity is juxtaposed against the continued concerns of Australian employees, who fear job losses as a consequence of AI incorporation.

Involving over 11,000 global full-time knowledge workers, of whom 1,000 were based in Australia, the vast majority of Australian leaders reflected an encouraging stance towards AI within their organisation, holding a lead of 5% over the global average. Leaders who have incorporated AI into their teams have observed considerable benefits, with 88% recording a faster completion of tasks, 84% reporting enhanced productivity, and 85% identifying an increased quality of work.

Despite the apparent optimism among Australian leaders, a notable 89% of Australian employees expressed anxieties about potential job losses resulting from AI adoption. This worker apprehension is recognised by leadership, with 71% acknowledging that the fear of job losses poses a significant obstacle to AI incorporation.

Bede Hackney, Head of Australia and New Zealand at Zoom, underscored the critical role of leadership in mitigating these apprehensions and encouraging AI adoption. Hackney stressed that AI could not only amplify productivity but can also improve cooperation. He added that education and resources are essential in realising the full potential of AI.

Australian teams that use AI at work have noted significant boosts in efficiency. Australian employees have shown interest in utilising AI tools, primarily for efficiency and automation, such as summarising meetings, chat messages, and notes (44%), automating repetitive tasks (43%), and finding and organising information (36%). On the other hand, leaders prefer using AI for enhancing meeting sound and video quality (38%), summarising information (34%) and getting real-time help during meetings (34%).

Concerns over the possibly adverse effects of AI adoption on job preservation were focal among Australian workers, with a notable 89% identifying potential job losses as a negative impact of AI. These employee worries appear to be recognised by leadership, with 71% of them sharing the same concern about job losses acting as a barrier for AI adoption. Additionally, 80% of leaders highlighted relevant training as the greatest challenge to the adoption of AI. There were also worries about a growing dependency of employees on AI.

Employees from the Asia Pacific region, which includes Australia, are the most excited about AI with 69% of APAC respondents indicating their enthusiasm; a distinctly higher proportion than their US equivalents (47%). Furthermore, employees in this region are more likely than any other to use AI in the future with 43% stating they are likely to, in contrast to 29% in EMEA and 26% in the US.

Australia's leadership's positive response to AI in the workplace illustrates the nation's progressive approach to innovation. As Hackney concluded, the survey reflects a favourable trend for Australia to be a frontrunner in AI adoption.