The .au Domain Administration (auDA) today released its Digital Lives of Australians 2023: Readiness for emerging technologies report. The report found take-up of emerging technologies by Australian consumers and small businesses is limited, highlighting the need for greater education, affordability and fit-for-purpose regulations to reduce barriers to entry, build confidence and unlock benefits.
The study comprised a survey of more than 1,500 consumers and 400 small businesses. It explored their attitudes and take-up of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and blockchain. The research shows:
Despite awareness, in-depth knowledge of emerging technologies is limited
- AI is the most well-known of the four technologies with 63 per cent of consumers and 80 per cent of small businesses knowing at least a little about it. However, at present only six per cent of consumers and 12 per cent of small businesses would be confident explaining AI to others.
Knowledge informs both greater appreciation and stronger caution
- More than 60 per cent of consumers and small businesses with higher knowledge of AI believe it will deliver positive economic outcomes, compared to only 18 per cent of consumers and 34 per cent of small businesses with lower knowledge
- 78 per cent of small businesses with higher knowledge of AI believe it will free up time for other important business activities, compared to only 35 per cent with lower knowledge
- 75 per cent of consumers with higher knowledge of augmented and virtual reality believe it can enable greater opportunities for social interaction, especially for those who are isolated, compared to only 42 per cent with lower knowledge
- More than 75 per cent of consumers and small businesses with higher knowledge of AI say they would feel more comfortable if there were stronger regulatory safeguards around it, compared to only 45 per cent of consumers and 54 per cent of small businesses with lower knowledge.
Benefits and barriers related to emerging technologies
- Consumers see efficiency and convenience as benefits but hold concerns about data security and privacy
- Small businesses consider efficiency the main benefit and inaccuracy, cost and availability as barriers
- For consumers and small businesses:
- Expense and access are the main barriers to using robotics and virtual and augmented reality
- Skills deficits are a bigger barrier for virtual or augmented reality than the other technologies
- Consumers hold strong expectations that businesses wishing to use AI applications must do so responsibly and be transparent about their use.
auDA CEO Rosemary Sinclair AM said, “auDA’s Digital Lives of Australians 2023 research highlights the importance of building Australians’ understanding of emerging technologies to enable them to harness the opportunities they provide.
“Improving access to, confidence in and affordability of emerging technologies and upskilling small businesses will be essential to level the playing field, and empower them to harness the benefits larger businesses are already accessing.
“auDA’s research also shows that Australians – particularly those with higher knowledge of emerging technologies – want to see safeguards put in place to protect against potential risks.
“auDA’s latest Digital Lives report provides necessary insight to aid governments, business, industry and the education sector to tackle these contemporary challenges and support Australians to continue to access wide-ranging value from the internet and internet enabled technologies.”
auDA’s Digital Lives of Australians 2023: Readiness for emerging technologies report is the third report in an ongoing study by auDA which began in 2021. Read the full report on the auDA website.
The research was undertaken on behalf of auDA by SEC Newgate Research. The research comprised an online survey of 1,500 consumers (Australian adults in the general population) and 407 small businesses (owners, managers, or decision makers) with between 1 and 19 employees. Samples were weighted to reflect the Australian population.
The research was undertaken in July 2023.