Majority of Australians Support Limits on Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition Technology in Australia

The key measures in the Australian Human Rights Commission ‘Human Rights and Technology’ report released Thursday are strongly endorsed by the Australian public, according to new research.

A poll of 1,100 Australians conducted by Essential Research for the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology finds majority support for the key measures recommended in the report:

Key findings:

  • Majority of Australians (55%) support a pause on Facial Recognition Technology in Australia until safeguards are in place, only 15% oppose
  • Vast majority of Australians (62%) support requiring a human to have oversight and accountability for all automated government decisions, only 12% oppose
  • Six in ten Australians (60%) require all artificial intelligence to comply with anti-discrimination laws in Australia, 13% oppose

“What this research shows is the Australian public is ready to have the conversation about the way technology is developing in Australia,” said Peter Lewis, Director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology.

“The public have witnessed countries like China where state video surveillance controls citizens with a social credit rating system and the USA where the pursuit of profit positions people as crash test dummies and it is clear they want something different.

“Placing an immediate pause on the development of facial recognition technology in Australia will allow for safeguards to be developed that embed personal privacy and non-discrimination into the code of Australian artificial intelligence.

“This is an opportunity to create a uniquely Australian tech industry, where our liberal-democratic values creates fairer and more effective technology.

“Like the Swiss with their watches and the Danes with their furniture, Australian artificial intelligence could be recognised for its design excellence when it comes to AI.

“This is a great opportunity for the government to embrace a long-term plan for the local tech industry.”

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full polling brief

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