UK consumers reveal true feelings on AI technology

New research from the enterprise information management company, OpenText, today reveals the extent to which UK consumers think artificial intelligence (AI) and robot technology will impact aspects of their everyday lives in the future.

Despite the research revealing some scepticism towards the introduction of robot technology, the survey also revealed that many UK consumers feel the technology could benefit their daily lives.

Virtual workforces?

From the survey of 2,000 UK respondents, the survey revealed that a significant number of UK consumers (42%) believe their job could be replaced by a robot in the next 30 years, while a quarter (25%) think this could happen within the next 10 years.

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The younger generation of workers are most likely to believe their jobs could be replaced by robot technology, with 1 in 5 (19%) 18–24 year olds saying they sometimes or frequently worry about the prospect.

Digital diagnosis

In the healthcare sector, technology has already been used to update patient records, improve care delivery and streamline processes. Yet AI is increasingly being heralded as a technology to achieve further breakthroughs in the sector.

The OpenText research showed that UK consumers, too, see the advantages of the technology:

A quicker diagnosis was identified as the biggest benefit of introducing AI into healthcare, with one in three (33%) UK consumers believing robots would reach a decision on their condition much faster.
As well as faster diagnosis, one in four (25%) British consumers believe they would get a more accurate diagnosis from AI.
A quarter of UK consumers (25%) said robot technology would mean they wouldn’t have to rely on booking an appointment with a GP, while 24% said the biggest benefit would be no longer having to take time off work to visit a doctor.

Nearly two in five (38%) UK consumers said they would trust the medical diagnosis given by AI and just over 1 in 10 (11%) said they would trust the diagnosis of AI more, or just as much, as a doctor’s diagnosis.

Robo-advisors in government

Two thirds of UK citizens (66%) believe robots will be working within government by 2037, with 16% thinking this could happen within the next one to two years.

Those surveyed did not fear this introduction of robot technology in government. In fact just over one in four (26%) UK citizens think robots would make better decisions than elected government representatives.

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Despite believing robots would make better decisions, 16% said they would still want humans to make the final decision. When asked which government functions could be better performed by robot / intelligent automation technology, one in ten UK citizens (10%) said robots would make better decisions on the economy than humans.

Just over a third (35%) of UK citizens, however, do not feel as though robots would be able to assess the cultural aspects when it comes to making a decision.

When asked about the biggest benefits of the introduction of robot technology in government, the research revealed that:

 One in five (20%) UK citizens think there would be less admin and form filling to complete as the result of introducing robot technology into government.

 ‘Reduced waiting times’ would be the biggest benefit – nearly a quarter of UK citizens (24%) identified this as an issue robots could help improve.

  Nearly one in five (19%) believe there would be fewer errors in government processes.

Commenting on the findings outlined above, Mark Bridger, VP of OpenText UK said: “The digital revolution will drive an increasing reliance on self-service technology, machine to machine (M2M) communication and AI, and there is no denying that every job in every industry will be impacted. However, while some jobs will disappear and others will change significantly, the opportunity for innovation and change is limitless.”

“AI and cognitive technologies will give organisations across all sectors, faster access to sophisticated insights, and consequently empower them to make better decisions for customers, employees and the business overall.”

Better customer service

As well as making improvements in the public sector, UK consumers believe the introduction of AI could improve their customer experience with brands too.

>See also: 5 ways AI will impact the global business market in 2017

In fact, over a quarter (27%) believe a robot would provide better customer service than a human. When asked which scenarios could offer better customer service from a robot, OpenText found that more than a quarter of UK consumers (26%) think they would get better service from a robot when ordering food in a restaurant. While one in five (20%) think a robot would improve their experience when speaking to a call centre operator.

Bridger continued, “customers today expect nothing less than exceptional customer service and will not hesitate to seek services elsewhere if they don’t get it. Businesses are fast realising that they need to alter the way in which they interact with their customers to meet their demands. The introduction of robots and AI will offer an opportunity to revolutionise this interaction process.”

“Cognitive systems are self-learning systems that simulate the way a brain works using data mining, analytics and natural language processing to learn, interact and make decisions. Intelligent automation technology will amplify human capabilities, working seamlessly alongside people to uncover underlying patterns and trends, provide better insights, make decisions, and prescribe actions more efficiently – ultimately improving customer experience over all.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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