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Australia leads AI adoption but struggles to tackle bigger issues

04 May 2020

Australia may be leading the way in artificial intelligence (AI) implementation and investments - but a new report suggests it's not all good news, because the country is poorly managing AI aspects such as bias, privacy, and training.

Genpact’s third annual AI360 report, which surveyed 500 senior executives and 4000 workers across Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, about their work with AI.

The survey found that 70% of Australians worry that AI may discriminate against them, while 67% worry that AI will make decisions that affect them without their knowledge.

This is despite the fact that AI investments have increased across the globe, including in Australia. According to the survey, 38% of Australian senior executives report that their organisations have invested $10 million or more in AI. Of investments of $20 million or more, 15% of Australian respondents say their companies are investing at this level.

“What the past 12 months have shown us, and what the next coming years will continue to show, is that flexibility and faster decision-making cycles are key to building resilience, adapting to new situations, new processes, and driving innovation to remain relevant. Companies investing in AI will be the ones to better respond to change and continue to operate efficiently in that ever-evolving landscape,” comments Genpact Australia country manager and VP, Richard Morgan.

Organisations should do their bit to manage bias – 87% of Australian consumers say that organisations must address bias in AI, and 63% are likely to recommend a company that can show its AI algorithms are free of bias.

Many workers also see potential in AI that could help them take advantage of the technology – 85% of Australian workers are willing to learn new skills to support AI knowledge; however they say that workplace aren’t meeting that demand for training or reskilling.

Furthermore, 63% of Australian organisations do not offer AI-related training, although 58% are talking about it.

“As companies look to reskill and upskill their teams, it is important they ensure a complete diversity - including gender and more - of the people they train, and provide them with both technical and also non-technical skills such as deep industry expertise,” comments Morgan.

Reskilling and training may also come with a gender gap – globally, male and female senior executives agree (77% and 75%, respectively) that companies in their industry generally do not provide equal opportunities to men and women for AI reskilling.

Australian respondents say that AI can help various talent processes that could reduce gender bias in promotion (62%), recruiting (56%), and hiring (54%).

“As companies look to reskill and upskill their teams, it is important they ensure a complete diversity - including gender and more - of the people they train, and provide them with both technical and also non-technical skills such as deep industry expertise,” says Morgan.