National study reveals Australians have low trust in Artificial Intelligence – but there is hope

28 October 2020

A University of Queensland (UQ) report has revealed that two thirds of Australians do not trust Artificial intelligence (AI), and many are unaware that it is being used in everyday applications, like social media.

The Trust in Artificial Intelligence report, produced by UQ Business School reseachers Professor Nicole Gillespie, Dr Steve Lockey and Dr Caitlin Curtis, in partnership with KPMG, is the first national survey to take a deep dive into understanding the extent of Australians’ trust in and support of AI.

Some of the key findings of the report reveal that:

  • Only one in three Australians are willing to trust AI
  • 45% are unwilling to share their data with an AI system
  • 42% generally accept AI but only 25% approve or embrace it
  • Australian universities, research institutions and defence organisations are most trusted to develop and regulate AI.  Commercial organisations are lagging behind.
  • Almost all (96%) expect AI to be regulated – but do not believe current regulations are sufficient
  • Most Australians have low understanding of AI, but most (86%) want to know more about it

Professor Nicole Gillespie, who holds the KPMG Chair of Organisational Trust, said the benefits and promise of AI for society and business are undeniable.

Professor Nicole Gillespie

“AI helps people make better predictions and informed decisions, it enables innovation, and can deliver productivity gains, improve efficiency, and drive lower costs.

“Through such measures such as AI driven fraud detection, it is helping protect physical and financial security – and AI is facilitating the current global fight against COVID-19.”

But Professor Gillespie said that the risks and challenges AI poses for society are equally undeniable. Challenges include the risk of codifying and reinforcing unfair biases, infringing on human rights such as privacy, spreading fake online content, technological unemployment and the dangers stemming from mass surveillance technologies, critical AI failures and autonomous weapons.

“These issues are causing public concern and raising questions about the trustworthiness and regulation of AI.”

“A little under half of the public are unwilling to share their information or data with an AI system, and two in five are unwilling to trust the recommendations or decisions of an AI system,” said Professor Gillespie.

“While many in the community are hesitant to trust AI systems, Australians generally accept or tolerate AI, but few approve or embrace AI,” said Professor Gillespie.

Dr Steve Lockey, noted that although trust in AI is low, there is a clear path forward to strengthen trust.

“Insights from our research suggest strengthening the regulatory framework for governing AI, and enhancing Australia’s AI literacy can enhance public trust in AI, and support the realisation of its societal and economic benefits,” said Dr Lockey.

Media: Professor Nicole Gillespie,, +61 7 334 68076; Business School Communications Emma Pryor,, +61 421 772 888.

Find out more about UQ Business School Research in Trust, Ethics and Governance.