A widely accepted approach to assess extinction risk, and a key source of data underpinning the IPBES report, is the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (hereafter Red List). However, with only 9%of plants represented by assessments at the latest update (IUCN, 2019), slow progress in increasing Red List coverage of mega-diverse groups like plants has limited their inclusion in analyses of global conservation priorities. Responding to this problem, there is growing interest in speeding up the assessment process. Automation, particularly through machine learning, offers an attractive solution. However, we advocate caution before adopting it to help set global conservation priorities.