Despite the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) to improve our lives, roughly three-quarters of consumer believe that some companies will take the technology too far, according to new research from Elicit.
This is critical for companies—especially technology vendors—to understand, as AI and machine learning become more pervasive in the services and products they offer. These companies must seek to push the boundaries of what is possible with AI, while at the same time assuring customers that their intentions are morally sound.
Some 73% of the 697 adults surveyed said they agreed or strongly agreed that some companies would go too far with AI. Another 20% were neutral on the topic, and 7% said they disagreed or strongly disagreed.
SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)
When asked about privacy, 64% said they were concerned about how companies would use AI to engage with them. Some 25% were neutral, and 11% disagreed with this concept.
In terms of how AI is used, 25% said they didn't even think many companies were using AI today, while 43% disagreed. Some 37% said it's ok for companies to use AI if they are making a task easier. Additionally, 38% said that companies must use AI to make experiences better for users, according to the survey.
One of the biggest disparities came with the level of humanness that AI can achieve. When faced with the statement that AI will never be as good as human interaction, 64% agreed. On the flip side, 14% disagreed and 22% were neutral.
AI isn't going anywhere anytime soon, but it is causing anxiety for some consumers, the report said. As such, companies should seek to understand the root of this anxiety so they can build products that address it.
"The conveniences and enhanced experiences delivered by AI are unlimited, and most people at an intellectual level understand that and welcome it," Lisa Brink, senior director of strategy at Elicit, said in the release. "The anxiety and unease is created when AI begins to make decisions on its own without human input. Companies can leverage this insight to address some of those barriers and make these advances more palatable to consumers."
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- 73% of consumers believe that some companies will take AI too far. — Elicit, 2018
- 64% of consumers believe AI will never be as good as human interaction. — Elicit, 2018
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- Does AI have the solution to climate change and human trafficking? (ZDNet)
- 90% of companies are working on AI projects, but they're making one big mistake (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.