The Lab Insight and Strategy research finds AI is not match for humanness just yet

The Lab - AIs Cultural Crossroads Report - The Lab

Neale Cotton: “There is excitement about its game-changing potential but also a sense that we risk harming our social fabric”

The Lab Insight and Strategy has released a comprehensive study that illuminates business and industry speculation about AI disruption and the perspectives of everyday Australians during this pivotal moment of change.

The study, AI’s Cultural Crossroads, reveals that Australians anticipate the widespread adoption of AI in shopping, travel, and work within 3-5 years, addressing challenges like information overload, choice paralysis, and trust deficits among consumers.

However, the majority of Australians cannot yet imagine interacting with emotionally capable AI, emphasising the irreplaceable role of human-to-human connections and the belief in empathy as an innate human quality that AI cannot replicate.

Over 60% reject the idea of using AI to discuss emotions and mental health, for critical healthcare decisions, or forming meaningful relationships or friendships with AI-driven companions. Notably, the majority of those individuals with a strong understanding of AI were open to these possibilities, indicating a potential future shift towards broader acceptance as knowledge and understanding increase.

Currently, these types of applications go to the heart of Australians concerns about a future with AI, where it substitutes human endeavours, rather than simply enables them. 70% of Australians worry about potential job loss due to AI automation, and 68% agree that if AI-created content becomes indistinguishable from human-created content, it may devalue the work of human creators.

At the extreme, it has prompted contemplation of a future scenario where the machine will replace humans, with 1 in 4 Australians believing there is a more than 10% chance of human extinction resulting from our inability to control AI.

Nevertheless, 50% envision AI revolutionising climate change, poverty and public health. It is also seen as a chance for fresh objectivity in trust depleted domains. 1 in 4 Australians are receptive to voting for an AI powered political candidate with data-driven and impartial judgments. Additionally, 1 in 2 were open to tailored financial advice from AI chatbots.

The Lab’s CEO Neale Cotton said that Australians perceive the future with AI as a double-edged sword.

“There is excitement about its game-changing potential but also a sense that we risk harming our social fabric, our livelihoods and authentic expression,” he said.

“It’s crucial to maintain a balanced perspective, acknowledging AI’s benefits, appreciating human qualities, and aligning AI development with our values and needs for collective wellbeing.”

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