A deep dive into consumer perceptions of artificial intelligence

For so long, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been one of those promises of the future residing about ten years in the future, tantalizingly beyond our grasp. Kind of like flying cars.

Cars may remain earth-bound, but AI has arrived, and it’s here to stay.

Historians will look back on 2016 as the year AI began the transition from theory to application and a (sometimes hidden) part of our everyday lives. By crafting products backed by the core technologies of AI, companies have not only showcased the inherent value the technology can bring to the every-day consumer, they have also catalyzed big pushes in AI across a variety of sectors including retail, manufacturing, transportation and agriculture.

As a software company developing AI-fueled solutions, this is a subject we’re watching very closely.

We believe that within the next two to three years, there will be an exponential increase in the number of commercially developed AI applications. However, the advancements in this field do not come without questions, especially when it comes to AI’s reputation among consumers.

XANT commissioned a survey of 2,000 US consumers to gauge their perceptions of AI’s role in their personal and professional lives, as well as to understand how the typical American sees AI’s future role playing out. We call it the 2017 State of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Report, and we are excited to release the findings today.

Here’s a peek into what the survey revealed (you can access the full report here).

AI in navigation is the earliest killer application of the technology.

AI’s Infancy Stage

When it comes to AI adoption, the majority of survey respondents are just dipping their toes in the water. In both their personal and work lives, people are split in their AI use. Outside the office, just more than half (55 percent) report that they have used AI before. Of the total respondents, about 10 percent can be considered early adopters, using AI on a regular basis.

Consumers today mostly interact with AI through services geared towards convenience or entertainment, such as navigation apps (60 percent), video streaming (55 percent) and music streaming (47 percent). These technologies are familiar to consumers, having been in use for a decade or more. It’s the new technology utilizing AI that has yet to hit critical mass. Only five percent of consumers surveyed reported finding AI-enhanced assistants like Amazon Alexa useful.

Trust Me: There’s Still Some Trepidation

Even as AI for commercial use becomes increasingly mainstream, consumers are hesitant.

When presented with a list of popular AI services, 42 percent of respondents could not cite one example of AI that they trust.

However, despite their initial trepidation, consumers do agree that AI will have a large impact on our future.

Among those surveyed:

  • 49 percent of consumers believe AI will lead to medical advancements
  • 47 percent of consumers believe AI will take over dangerous jobs
  • 41 percent of consumers believe AI will automate mundane tasks in their personal life
  • 40 percent of consumers believe AI will lead to advancements in transportation/travel
  • 35 percent of consumers believe AI will automate mundane tasks in their work life

These findings indicate that while today, AI may be centered about entertainment and GPS navigation, in the future, people see it playing a vital role in improving healthcare and and transforming transportation and travel.

The Future of Work…

We’ve all heard it, the buzz around “The Future of Work.” What was once a simple phrase has been stretched to span across hundreds of articles covering everything from robotics to the gig economy.

The State of AI Report reveals that today, 63 percent of respondents have no strong opinion about the use of AI in the workplace, and an additional 64 percent claim they have never used AI at work.

In work and daily lives, consumers are still in a transitional stage, where they are just starting to truly encounter AI. As companies adapt to and confront the next wave of the information age, the steadfast beliefs and perceptions on this new technology will come into clearer focus. However, if there is one thing that is clear, it’s that AI is here and it’s here to stay. In order to harness the power of this new technology and bring it into the best light possible, organizations placing big bets on AI must ensure they are dedicating time towards education and promoting trust among their users.

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