The vast majority of consumers may fear artificial intelligence will have a major impact on their jobs, as well as how their personal data is handled, but most are willing to cast aside their concerns believing it will be for the greater good, even though others reckon the technology could even trigger Armageddon.
Depending on who you believe, AI will either leave the whole workforce redundant or alternatively free up the mundane tasks and make work more interesting. But a new study from AI think tank and development company Fountech.ai found that two thirds (67%) of people are worried AI will result in jobs being lost to machines.
It also showed the majority of Britons (58%) think AI tools that recommend products to customers – such as the software used by Amazon and Netflix – are creepy. A similar number (59%) have become more nervous about the way their personal data is collected and used since the rise of AI.
Meanwhile almost a quarter (24%) of people even think AI could be responsible for the end of humankind. However, three fifths (62%) believe AI will do more good than harm to the world around us.
Elsewhere, Fountech.ai’s research highlights an underlying lack of awareness when it comes to AI and how widespread the technology is. In fact, 37% of UK adults admit they do not fully understand what the term "artificial intelligence" means.
Furthermore, only 30% claim to regularly use technologies that are powered by AI. This is despite the fact that popular tools such as Google’s search engine, Siri, most major email providers and Facebook – as well as Amazon and Netflix platforms – all use AI.
One in three (31%) respondents said they do not think AI will ever be able to truly replicate the cognitive ability of humans. Nevertheless, three quarters (74%) want to see the UK Government do more to govern the way AI technologies are developed and used.
Fountech.ai chief executive and founder Nikolas Kairinos said: "People tend to fear what they don’t understand, and today’s research is an example of this. For decades, AI has been misrepresented in sci-fi movies and literary fiction, but we should not let this blinker our view of how this technology can enhance the world around us.
"AI can solve problems and achieve tasks that we previously considered impossible – it will undoubtedly open doors to countless opportunities so we can make the world a better place. Importantly, as this study shows, the technology must be harnessed and used in the right way – the ethical questions surrounding the development of AI will rightly remain until both governments and businesses show they are applying it in responsible, safe ways."