The Future of Artificial Intelligence: What Americans ThinkMarch 2, 2018 | By Tanya Levina
Advances in artificial intelligence are making our lives easier by creating products that allow us to automate processes and procedures. From self-driving cars lowering accident rates to robotic micro-surgeries improving precision – there is an infinite number of benefits technology can provide for our society.
In our recent study, we surveyed over 2,700 US consumers in order to better gauge their understanding and attitudes towards artificial intelligence technology and the effects they believe it will have on their lives.
Most Americans are either positive or neutral about evolving technology, only 16% expect AI to have a negative impact on their personal lives. Consumers are most excited about artificial intelligence innovations in healthcare, intelligent assistants, and self-driving cars. At the same time, they are worried about security breaches; 60% say they do not trust technology companies to ensure that AI technologies are safe and secure. As brands are working to improve capabilities in consumer intelligence, marketers will need to be ever more attentive to, and respectful of, consumer data, rights, and privacy.
Loss of jobs to technology having a negative impact on the economy is also a concern. There is a need for marketers to educate American consumers on the benefits of their AI innovations, as they gradually replace human workers in certain sectors.
American Consumers Aren’t Worried About the Future of Artificial Intelligence
While scientists and technology entrepreneurs are increasingly worried about effects of future legions of robotic innovations on the world’s workforce, the general American public is not as concerned. In part, because few US consumers have a good understanding of what AI is and how it will affect them in the future. In fact, when asked, only 17% were certain that they used artificial intelligence in their everyday life.Americans generally regard AI development as a positive force (22%) and few have a negative outlook (7%) on how this technology may affect their job prospects in the future. Nearly half (42%) admit they have no idea how their jobs may be affected by technology. The younger generation is more optimistic than their older counterparts; 26% believe AI technology will have a positive effect on their job prospects.
Few Americans are expecting a doomsday scenario, only a quarter believe that the future of artificial intelligence will have a negative effect on the society as a whole and 40% project no impact. Similarly, more than half do not believe that AI technology will have any effect on their personal lives and nearly 7 in 10 do not know whether they want AI tech development to speed up or slow down.
The difference in understanding and perceptions of artificial intelligence between generations is stark. The younger Americans (18-34) have a rosier view of what AI technology has in store for them. They are more likely to believe that AI development will have a positive impact on their personal lives, have no impact on the society as a whole, and are more likely to say they want AI technology advancement to speed up.
Americans Want Smarter Products and Services
Consumers tend to look forward to technology advancements that will create better consumer products. The aspects of AI technology that Americans are most excited about include innovations in healthcare, intelligent assistants, and self-driving cars.
As technology evolves, consumers are often uneasy about allowing it to take over certain aspects of their life. People tend to feel more comfortable entrusting technical tasks, such as manufacturing or entertainment to AI but are less comfortable trusting computers with service areas that traditionally required human interactions, such as elderly care or childcare. Americans are also wary of trusting AI with banking and finance, potentially due to concerns about security breaches. This underscores lack of understanding among the general populace, as most stock market trading is already done by AI programs.
Consumer Concerns About the Future of Artificial Intelligence Focused on Personal Data Security
When asked about specific concerns they may have about AI technology development, US consumers are most concerned about personal data risks and security breaches (48%). Even though 4 in 10 are also worried that loss of jobs to AI may have a negative impact on the economy, fewer Americans are specifically concerned about their own job being outsourced (21%).
There is a distrust of technology companies in charge of ensuring safety and security of AI technologies to come. Only 7% of US consumers say they trust these companies “a lot” and more than 6 in 10 say they do not have much trust.
Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon are the most trusted brands to bring about safe AI technologies, and Millennials and Gen Z are more trusting of technology companies than older generations.
Students tend to be outliers in this study. More than 6 in 10 students say they think about AI technology impact on the workforce at least a little bit, as they decide on which career to pursue. Nearly a third of students say they think about advancing technology a great deal.
Considering the general lack of awareness about AI, there is a growing need to educate Americans on the rapidly advancing technologies and what it will mean for their families and the society.
Fluent is pleased to announce that it has partnered with TAtech, a trade association for the worldwide community of organizations that provide technology-based tools for recruiting, to launch a new annual survey entitled The TAtech-Fluent Annual Survey of Consumer Perceptions of AI. Since every consumer is either a potential job seeker or a recruiter, this survey will yield important insights on how our customers look at artificial intelligence – from chatbots to machine-learning based recruitment marketing platforms – and what they think the future holds as it permeates the workplace.
Fluent will survey U.S. consumers over the age of 18 to gather those insights each year. The results will be presented at the TAtech Fall Congress & World Job Board Forum with additional details presented on the TAtech blog – TAprose.