Why Or­gan­i­sa­tions are Hes­i­tant to Use Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence

Pe­gasys­tems global con­sumer study shows hes­i­tancy to use AI tech­nol­ogy even though most un­wit­tingly are al­ready us­ing it

PCQuest - - CONTENTS - – Adeesh Sharma

The study re­vealed con­sumers are con­fused about what ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) re­ally does, re­sult­ing in mis­placed fears that in­hibit them from em­brac­ing AI-based tech­nol­ogy. How­ever, these fears are often eased once they gain first hand AI ex­pe­ri­ence – which iron­i­cally many en­joy to­day with­out even re­al­iz­ing it.

In a sur­vey of 6,000 cus­tomers in six coun­tries, con­sumers ap­pear hes­i­tant to fully em­brace AI de­vices and ser­vices. Only one in three (36 per­cent) are com­fort­able with busi­nesses us­ing AI to en­gage with them – even if this typ­i­cally re­sults in a bet­ter cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. Al­most three quar­ters (72 per­cent) ex­press some sort of fear about AI, with one quar­ter (24 per­cent) of re­spon­dents even wor­ried about ro­bots tak­ing over the world.

Sur­prise … you may al­ready be us­ing AI!

But these con­sumers may be sur­prised to learn they are al­ready ex­posed to much more AI than they re­al­ize. Only 34 per­cent of re­spon­dents thought they had di­rectly ex­pe­ri­enced AI. But when asked about the tech­nolo­gies in their lives, the sur­vey found 84 per­cent ac­tu­ally use at least one AI-pow­ered ser­vice or de­vice– such

as vir­tual home as­sis­tants, in­tel­li­gent chat­bots, or pre­dic­tive prod­uct sug­ges­tions. When asked

separately to iden­tify AI-pow­ered de­vices, only 41 per­cent knew Ama­zon’s Alexa and Google Home run on AI.

AI: Fear of the un­known

These find­ing scan be traced to a ba­sic mis­un­der­stand­ing of AI by con­sumers. Seventy-two per­cent con­fi­dently claimed they un­der­stand AI, but far fewer could cor­rectly de­fine what it is or what it can do.For ex­am­ple, rel­a­tively few knew AI has the ba­sic abil­ity to in­ter­pret or un­der­stand speech (37 per­cent) or mimic hu­mans (35 per­cent), while

only half could iden­tify some of the most com­mon AI ca­pa­bil­i­ties, like solv­ing prob­lems (50 per­cent) and learn­ing (57 per­cent).

De­mys­ti­fy­ing AI

These mis­per­cep­tions are im­por­tant be­cause the study shows they have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on con­sumers’ open­ness to us­ing AI. The data shows con­sumers are sig­nif­i­cantly more com­fort­able with AI if they think they have pre­vi­ously been ex­posed to it. Only one quar­ter(25 per­cent) of the peo­ple who re­port no AI ex­pe­ri­ence feel at ease with busi­nesses us­ing AI to en­gage with them. But for AI veter­ans, this num­ber jumps to 55 per­cent – a full 30 points higher.

Signs of op­ti­mism

Some­what con­tra­dic­tory to all of this, con­sumers also ex­press op­ti­mism in the power of AI. Nearly 70 per­cent say they want to ex­pe­ri­ence more AI if it will help make their lives eas­ier. Taken to­gether, the sur­vey re­sults sug­gest busi­nesses should be more trans­par­ent about the fair and prag­matic use of AI in their prod­ucts and ser­vices. Com­pa­nies should find non-threat­en­ing ways to ex­pose cus­tomers to its ben­e­fits to change their mis­per­cep­tions and es­tab­lish trust and com­fort over time.

The sur­vey also high­lighted some dif­fer­ences by gen­der and gen­er­a­tion. For ex­am­ple:

• More men think they un­der­stand what AI is (80

per­cent) than women (66 per­cent). How­ever, more women cor­rectly iden­ti­fied that Siri (60 per­cent) and Alexa (43 per­cent) are pow­ered by AI than men (54 per­cent and 38 per­cent, re­spec­tively).

• While those 55 and older are gen­er­ally less

com­fort­able with AI than mil­len­ni­als (ages 1824), they are also sur­pris­ingly less fear­ful of AI con­se­quences –30 per­cent of baby boomers ex­pressed no fears com­pared to 22 per­cent of mil­len­ni­als.

“Though AI has been around for more than 30 years, it has now evolved to the point that busi­nesses can en­gage with each in­di­vid­ual con­sumer on a real-time, one-to- one ba­sis,” said Don Schuer­man, vice pres­i­dent, prod­uct mar­ket­ing and CTO, Peg a sys­tems. “But our study sug­gests the re­cent hype is caus­ing some con­fu­sion and fear among con­sumers, who may not re­ally un­der­stand how it’s al­ready be­ing used and help­ing them ev­ery day. Busi­nesses need to fo­cus on us­ing AI to de­velop ap­pli­ca­tions that pro­vide real value for cus­tomers to im­prove their ex­pe­ri­ences rather than over hyp­ing the tech­nol­ogy it­self.”

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