Who do Aussies trust to sort out ethical issues? Scientists and doctors

Scientists and the medical community are the people Australians look to to solve the emerging ethical questions of the technological age. Religious leaders are much less likely to be looked to – but score higher than politicians.

New research by not-for-profit think-tank Mainstreet Insights has found a moral dilemma causing concern among Australians is the ethics surrounding autonomous vehicles.

About 86 per cent of Australians are concerned by algorithmic bias, such as cars making life and death decisions.

However when asked who should have a voice in determining the ethics of biotech/health tech advancements, Australias ranked doctors first at 77 per cent.

Scientists were close at 73 per cent. Next came the general public at 43 per cent and ethicists at 22 per cent..

Religious leaders at 12 per cent managed to outrank politicians at 6 per cent.

Mainstreet co-founder Mark McCrindle revealed there’s also concern about the practice of producing genetically modified (GM) food, with 78 per cent of people concerned about it.

“Australians are early embracers of technology and supportive of scientific innovations but they expect ethics to give guidance to such advancements,” McCrindle said.

“Most Australians are worried about where unfettered science could take us and they expect to be part of the conversation.”

Overall, the research shows that women are more cautious than men when it comes to trusting innovation, with females more worried about GM foods (82 per cent; 43 per cent males) and automated vehicles (86 per cent; 79 per cent males).

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