What people think about AI will surprise you

Conversations about artificial intelligence tend to go in one of two directions. Will it bring us a rampaging-robot chaos, or will AI make the world a much better place? As it turns out, people tend to believe the optimistic outcome by a wide margin.

That’s what we found when we commissioned an independent global survey of nearly 4,000 consumers across the U.S., Europe and APAC assessing the public’s attitude towards intelligent machines. Not only did it reveal that most people were in favor of AI technology, but they see its enormous potential--giving us more flexibility and control, enhancing safety and making our lives more rewarding.

AI perceived as making the world a better and safer place

  • More than a third of consumers believe AI already has had a noticeable impact on their daily lives. That belief swells to more than two thirds when asked about the anticipated impact just six years from now.
  • More than 60 percent of the people believe AI technology will make the world a better place, using words like “optimistic” and “excited” to describe the AI-shaped future.

Would you let an AI doctor perform brain surgery?

Respondents also were given various scenaria to consider

  • People had no qualms about having an AI doctor perform an eye examination (57 percent) or even brain surgery (41 percent).
  • More than half would trust an autonomous car to drive their family if their accident rates were demonstrably better than human drivers. In the next decade, this acceptance rises to over two-thirds of consumers.
  • Many also see humans developing bonds with AI robots, perhaps in the way humans now love their pets.

Could AI machines become more intelligent than humans?

There are, of course, concerns. The biggest perceived drawback relates to employment: Fewer or different jobs for humans.

  • Approximately a third believe lifesaving surgery, military and firefighting would be better conducted by AI machines than humans.
  • People believe heavy construction, package delivery and public transport jobs may be most affected.
  • More than half also have concerns about AI machines becoming more intelligent than humans.

The report also offers detailed responses by geography, which yields some interesting data. What region of the world is the most interested in AI’s benefits for healthcare? Which areas are most eager to build relationships with robots?

After you read it, I’d love to hear your feedback.