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Research Shows a Worrying Lack of Action Towards Responsible AI

Announcement posted by Fifth Quadrant 04 Apr 2023

Sydney, 4th April 2023: Today the second iteration of the Australian Responsible AI Index was released. 


Key statistics:

  • The mean Responsible AI Index score for Australian-based organisations is 62 out of 100 (unchanged since 2021).
  • On average 82% of respondents believe they’re taking a best-practice approach to AI, but on closer inspection, only 24% are taking deliberate actions to ensure their own AI systems are developed responsibly. 
  • 60% of organisations surveyed have an enterprise-wide AI strategy that is tied to their wider business strategy, compared with 51% in 2021. 
  • Only 34% of organisations that have an enterprise-wide AI strategy have a CEO personally invested in driving the strategy. 
  • Organisations where the CEO is responsible for driving the AI strategy have a higher RAI Index score of 66 compared with a score of 61 for those where the CEO is not taking the lead. 
  • 61% of organisations now believe the benefits of taking a responsible approach to AI outweigh the costs. 


Australia risks falling behind on Artificial Intelligence (AI), with new research revealing that Australian businesses are slow to develop and use the technology responsibly.  


Now in its second year, the Responsible AI Index 2022, led by Dr Catriona Wallace, of the Responsible Metaverse Alliance, supported by Gradient Institute and sponsored by IAG and Transurban, measures and tracks how well organisations are designing and implementing Responsible AI systems, with a view to fairness, accountability, transparency, and impact on people and society. 


The Index exposes a worrying ‘action gap,’ with most businesses (82%) confident they’re taking a best-practice approach to AI, but on closer inspection, only (24%) are actually taking deliberate actions to ensure their own AI systems are developed responsibly. 


Dr Catriona Wallace, who co-authored report with Fifth Quadrant, explains that while there was an uptick in businesses initiating action on AI in 2022 (up 12% to 46%), researchers also saw a drop in businesses who rate themselves as ‘mature’ in this space (down from 8% to 3%).


‘We had hoped to see an incremental shift towards responsible AI maturity over the last 12 months, however the results were disappointingly flat, suggesting businesses may be struggling to know how to implement responsible AI,’ Dr Wallace said. 


The 2022 Index also reveals that many businesses are still approaching the technology in an ad hoc fashion rather than incorporating it into a wider business strategy. 


Three-fifths (60%) of organisations surveyed have an enterprise-wide AI strategy that is tied to their wider business strategy, compared with just over a half (51%) in 2021. 


‘Responsible AI starts at the top, and this research tells us that businesses who have senior leaders – including the CEO – involved in driving AI strategy are significantly more advanced in this space,’ Dr Wallace says. 


There is reason to be hopeful, however, with the 2022 Index revealing that more organisations now believe the benefits of taking a responsible approach to AI outweigh the costs (up 12% to 61%). 


Dr Wallace encourages businesses to focus on quantifying the benefits of designing and building responsible AI systems.


‘We know that responsible AI gives you a significant competitive advantage, so it’s worth taking the time and getting the assistance to get it right.’


‘Responsible AI can sometimes seem intangible to senior leaders, but some of Australia’s biggest companies are already using it in really practical ways to improve experiences for their stakeholders – whether it’s customers, suppliers, existing staff or even potential recruits.’


The Index is based on a survey of 439 executive decision makers responsible for AI development. 


The full report is available at https://www.fifthquadrant.com.au/2022-responsible-ai-index.


[Gradient Institute is founded and sponsored by IAG]



AI in action: using AI to keep people moving. 


With over two million trips taken every day taken on its toll road network, Transurban crews respond to around 1000 incidents a week – everything from broken down cars, to debris on the road and even escaped animals that find their way into tunnels – with a helping hand from AI. 


Transurban Group Executive for Customer and Technology, Simon Moorfield, explains that AI plays a vital role in keeping people safe and traffic moving.


‘Our roads are some of the most technologically sophisticated in the world, and AI and machine learning complements our operational crews who have eyes on our network 24/7,’ Mr Moorfield says.


Technology like automatic incident detection systems and smart sensors monitor for things like debris and stopped vehicles, and alert traffic control centres to potential issues. Transurban takes this technology to the next level by feeding the data into a purpose-built AI platform that learns from previous incidents to recommend how crews should respond.


The platform prioritises the safety of drivers and incident response teams, often recommending measures like speed reductions or lane closures to keep everyone safe while the incident is managed. 


‘AI ultimately helps us to keep our customers moving – we typically clear on-road incidents in under 10 minutes, making for quicker and safer trips on our roads,’ Mr Moorfield says. 



AI in insurance: improving outcomes for IAG and its customers


As the largest general insurer in Australia and New Zealand, IAG through its leading brands such as NRMA Insurance and CGU in Australia, and State, NZI and AMI in New Zealand, helps to protect the homes, cars and businesses of millions of people. 


“AI is playing an important role in helping us to improve customer and business outcomes”, says IAG Executive Manager Data and Algorithmic Ethics, Chris Dolman.


“Our AI-driven motor total loss communication system has now supported automatic communications to around 20,000 customers, improving their claims experience. Responsible AI practices have been critical to this success”, Mr Dolman said. 


IAG now uses AI systems in many other areas of its operations, including:

  • AI systems designed to assist with claims processing – fully automating some simple administrative tasks and assisting staff with recommendations for other more complex decisions. This improves the speed and accuracy of claims decisions, which improves the customer experience. 
  • AI systems designed to help our fraud investigators to prioritise the many fraud alerts generated. This improves the ability of our investigators to accurately detect claims fraud, which also improves outcomes for the vast majority of customers. 
  • AI systems designed to improve the insurance quote experience, by dynamically adjusting webpages and default options depending on the context of the individual. This improves the customer experience and supports IAG’s growth. 

“The responsible AI practices established at IAG help us to ensure that these AI systems operate with the correct design, suitable monitoring, and appropriate governance”, Mr Dolman said. 




About IAG:

IAG is the parent company of a general insurance group with operations in Australia and New Zealand. IAG’s main businesses underwrite over $13 billion of insurance premium per annum under many leading brands, including: NRMA Insurance, RACV (under a distribution agreement with RACV), CGU, SGIO, SGIC and WFI (Australia); and NZI, State, AMI and Lumley (New Zealand). For further information, please visit www.iag.com.au


About Transurban:

As one of the world’s leading toll-road operators, everything we do works to get people where they want to go, as quickly and safely as possible – from designing and building new roads to researching new vehicle and road safety technology.

We’re an Australian-owned company and we build and operate toll roads in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, as well as in Greater Washington, United States and Montreal, Canada.


We design our roads for the long term, ensuring they’ll deliver real and lasting benefits to cities and their communities. While you’re thinking about getting home on time today, we’re also thinking about how you’ll get home 10 or 20 years from now.


We’re also a technology company – we research and develop innovative tolling and transport technology that makes travel easier for everyone.


As an industry leader, we set high standards for our performance on social and environmental issues, and we invest in both to create social inclusion and manage our environmental impacts. We’re also a member of our local communities. We build parks and bike paths, create new community facilities, and plant trees for wildlife habitats – helping people connect with each other and their neighbourhoods. 


About Gradient Institute:

Gradient Institute is an independent, non-profit research institute that works to build ethics, accountability, and transparency into AI systems: developing new algorithms, training organisations operating AI systems and providing technical guidance for AI policy development. With AI systems increasingly interacting with people, generating text and images, making decisions and generally influencing all areas of human endeavour — including education, health, finance, media, employment, and retail — it is vital to ensure these systems do not harm individuals, communities, or society. Fostering the responsible and safe development and application of AI for the benefit of humanity is Gradient Institute’s core focus.


About Responsible Metaverse Alliance:

The Responsible Metaverse Alliance (RMA) is a social enterprise and international movement dedicated to supporting the development of the metaverse, and virtual worlds, so that they are handled responsibly from a perspective of design, deployment, safety, culture, inclusion, operations, and function.

The RMA has a focus on working with politicians, government officials, regulators, and policy makers internationally, to support them in addressing potential harms of the metaverse.


Media enquiries:

Dr Catriona Wallace

M: 0412181284 
E: catriona.wallace@responsiblemetaverse.org


Gradient Institute 

Bill Simpson-Young

M: 0411 871 214

E: bill.simpson-young@gradientinstitute.org



Katherine Jimenez

M: 0411 011 117

E: katherine.jimenez@iag.com.au



Sarah Chapman

M: 0400 841 898

E: sachapman@transurban.com