Nearly 4 in 10 Australians using generative AI at work: survey

But Australia's AI adoption rate behind that of APAC neighbours

Nearly 4 in 10 Australians using generative AI at work: survey

Nearly four in 10 Australian employees are now using generative AI at work, but a new report has shown that the country is behind its neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region when it comes to adopting the technology.

The latest report from Deloitte surveyed 11,900 individuals in the Asia-Pacific region to determine the adoption of generative AI in workplaces.

It found that overall usage of generative AI among employees and students in Australia is at 54%, lower than the regional average of 67%.

The percentage of employees using the developing tech, however, has reached 38%, up by almost 20% since last year, according to the report.

John O'Mahony, Deloitte Access Economics Lead Technology Partner, also noted that 56% of employees using AI at work now do it with the belief that their employers know about it.

"But there is still a long way to go with almost half of employees using gen AI say they are not aware of any actions taken by their business to respond to the rapid emergence of the technology in the workforce," O'Mahony said in a statement.

'She'll be right' approach

O'Mahony further pointed out that employees in Australia are taking a "she'll be right" approach to AI adoption.

"Australia and its institutions are perhaps too comfortable and relaxed about the transformative implications of gen AI on the global economy," he said.

This mindset towards AI comes despite the technology's benefits to employees and risks to jobs.

"We can't afford to sit on our hands. The report finds Gen AI users save approximately a day per week (6.3 hours) on tasks – an enormous productivity uplift of the kind the Australian economy badly needs," O'Mahony said.

"It also finds its largest disruptive potential is to professional and managerial roles, which account for 39% of Australia's workforce."

Risks surrounding AI

But the slow adoption of AI in workplaces may be attributed to growing concerns over potential risks, according to the report.

More than four in five (87%) employees surveyed said they are concerned about gen AI making factual errors, up from the 73% last year. Other concerns for employees include:

  • Misuse of personal, confidential, or sensitive information (89%)
  • Legal risk and copyright infringement (84%)
  • Lack of accountability (84%)

Kellie Nuttall, Deloitte Australia Lead Strategy & Business Design Partner and AI Institute Lead, said many of these concerns are due to "incomplete knowledge" on the potential and limits of gen AI.

AI is already here to stay, according to Nuttall, and business leaders need to address the workforce’s growing concerns over the technology.

“Employers must move to educate their workforce on the technology and transparently adapt it across business functions where it drives the most value,” she said.

“Organisations that move early to work out how gen AI can deliver the most value for them will develop an enormous competitive advantage. And when adoption is across an entire economy, that economy will also develop an edge over others.”

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