A survey conducted by business transformation consultancy, AI in Marketing, is shedding new light on the changing attitudes to artificial intelligence (AI) and how it impacts our personal and business lives.

The survey, which includes responses from the UK, Bahrain, New Zealand, Denmark, India, Germany, Cyprus, USA and Canada, reveals that nearly 96% of respondents believe that it is important for there to be ethics and regulations surrounding AI.

High profile industry reports confirm the extent to which AI will impact the business landscape globally, but timeframes are often unclear. This survey confirms that nearly 64% of respondents agree that AI has already impacted our lives, and over 43% believe that AI will start making a significant impact on our lives in around 2-5 years.

Katie King is CEO of AI in Marketing, the consultancy that conducted the poll. King is a recognised international expert, author and keynote speaker in AI and digital transformation. She has recently written a book on AI in Marketing for publisher Kogan Page, to be published in January 2019. Her research for the book includes interviews with global brands across numerous sectors, as well as leading academics, tech disruptors in AI, AI vendors and many more. She explains:

“In our poll, 40% of the respondents agree that AI will allow us to paradoxically be more human. This tallies with the research findings for my book, and would seem to reflect a growing acceptance of AI tools and chatbots, for example in retail, tourism and banking, which can alleviate certain tedious tasks, freeing us up to interact more with family and friends, or to handle more important strategic tasks in the workplace.

“We’re now in the fourth industrial revolution so there will inevitably be sceptics and those who fear the impact of AI and machine learning. It’s natural. But again our poll points to a surprisingly high number, 46%, who state that they probably would feel comfortable having robots in the workplace, whilst nearly 41% confirm that they probably would feel comfortable having robots in their homes. It’s early days but people seem to be moving slowly out of their comfort zone.”

Given that AI is still in the ‘Hype Cycle’ of fear and paranoia, it is no surprise that the news reports often focus on the negative aspects of AI, related to job losses and privacy. In this survey, nearly 49% report that robots will have an overall neutral effect by replacing some jobs and enhancing others. 34% report that a breach of our private information is their biggest fear of AI. In terms of responsibility, nearly 49% report that they believe the designers/programmers would be responsible if AI goes wrong.

Education is critical, as King explains: “AI is not yet on everyone’s radar. Earlier this week one person thought it meant All Inclusive, whilst another confused it with Artificial Insemination! In our poll, over 36% report that they believe there should be government funding into the future of AI and employment to cater for the AI skills gaps.”

Gender comparisons do not feature too highly in this survey. Overall there are very similar responses to all questions from males and females. The main differences were that over 49% of males report that they probably would feel comfortable having robots in the workplace compared to 15% who would probably not. This compares to 43% of females who report that they probably would feel comfortable having robots in the workplace compared to 33% who would probably not. So, men are perhaps slightly more open to accepting AI into their lives, but not by a great margin.

The age related findings are more revealing. When presented with the statement: “I completely trust chatbots,” there was a big difference. Over 5% of 18-24 responded strongly that they agree, compared to no 55-64s. Conversely, nearly 29% of 55-64 responded strongly that they disagree with the statement, compared to no 18-24s. Similarly, when presented with the statement: “I believe that AI has/will allow us to spend more time focusing on the more important tasks, and that it may actually allow us to paradoxically be more human,” nearly double the number of 18-24 year olds stated that they agree with this statement compared to 55-64s (nearly 48% vs nearly 24%).

However, when asked: “Would you feel comfortable having robots in your workplace?” the findings take an interesting turn. Based on the previous responses, you could be forgiven for presuming that 55-64 might be more averse to this, yet responses showed over 57% of 55-64s say they probably would feel comfortable, in comparison to only 32% of 18-24 year olds.

For further information, free advice and recordings of Keynote presentations on AI and its related impact on our lives and jobs, visit www.aiinmarketing.com

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