Consumer sentiment about AI is at a critical tipping point – Survey

The scale and speed at which AI adoption is happening today across the business landscape are remarkable. Recent industry figures show a global AI market worth around $89.8 billion by 2025. However, while investors and business customers have increased attention and investment in AI, consumers are clearly not as comfortable.

Results from Blumberg Capital’s 2019 AI research “Artificial Intelligence in 2019: Getting past the adoption tipping point” reveals a substantial disparity in consumer sentiment about AI.

Detailing the level of consumer comfort, knowledge and sentiment towards artificial intelligence (AI), the report shows that we are at a critical turning point when it comes to consumer understanding and attitudes towards AI, as half of the consumers feel optimistic while the other half feel fearful.

However, this gap gives businesses an immediate opportunity to address consumer concerns, inform them of AI’s potential, and educate them on how to avoid pitfalls. Results show that businesses must prioritize educating the general population about the positive and negative outcomes of the technology to achieve broader understanding and adoption.

Below are the key findings and what they mean for businesses:

Half of consumers do not fully grasp the impact of AI

Nearly half of companies integrated AI into business functions, whereas only five percent of respondents believe that the services they use daily, including banking, online shopping, streaming audio, and video services, are powered by AI. Since most consumers (58 percent) get their AI information from movies, television or social media, it is no surprise that there are misinformation and a lack of understanding on how people can benefit from the technology every day.

Consumers read to embrace AI for convenience, but are concerned about misuse

Findings show that most consumers are more comfortable with artificial intelligence when it provides increased comfort. Consumers feel that AI’s most convenient and trustworthy for business and entertainment. Consumers, however, are much more cautious about cybersecurity and healthcare. 45% of people lack confidence that their personal information will remain private, hesitating to make full use of technology in these areas. Looking into the future, consumers rank healthcare as the industry that will be most affected by AI over the next decade.

Consumers are wary of how AI will impact their work-life and job security

A significant consumer fear about AI is if it causes people to lose their jobs. Survey findings reinforce this concern, revealing that 49% Consumers feel artificial intelligence has replaced positions. Surprisingly, people are so concerned that only 19% of consumers want to pass their drudgery to a machine.

“AI is a powerful technology that works behind the scenes with the potential to change our lives and, unknown to many, it already has,” said Blumberg Capital founder and managing partner David J. Blumberg.

This survey shows that while a percentage of consumers are comfortable with AI, many people are concerned about how companies and governments use it. This tipping point for adoption offers emerging businesses significant opportunities to build consumer confidence and fill the educational gap. Though there is a fear that robots might take over the world, AI’s future potential productivity will bring benefits to ever broader segments of society. Technology companies should be transparent, demonstrate explainability, recognize potential bias, and show real-world examples of AI’s benefits for individuals, organizations, and community, he added.