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5 July, 2017 - 11:38 By Kate Sweeney

ARM reports global appetite for robodocs

ARM Rene Haas

An appetite for robodocs rather than human GPs and significant backing for autonomous vehicles are among the notable takeaways from a report commissioned by Cambridge technology company ARM that probes the fantasies and phobias over an AI future among global consumers.

Rene Haas, president of the IP Products Group at ARM, says: “Will AI bring us a rampaging-robot chaos, or will it actually make the world a better, smarter place?

“An ARM-commissioned global consumer survey of nearly 4,000 consumers across the US, UK, and Asia-Pacific about the future of AI may surprise you. In partnership with NorthStar Research, we asked respondents who were familiar with AI to share their perceptions of a world with increasingly intelligent machines.”

Haas said the notable takeaways include:-

  • 61 per cent think society will become better from increased automation and AI 
  • 11 per cent were concerned about the potential for machines to become independent and think for themselves 
  • Healthcare was the application that had consumers (61 per cent) most excited about AI’s potential, particularly the potential for diagnosing illness earlier. Also, 47 per cent would prefer an AI doctor over a human doctor if given a choice 
  • For automotive, 70 per cent of consumers would trust autonomous vehicles in 10 years while 55 per cent trust them now  
  • Random fact: 61 per cent believe humans will grow to love AI as pets 

The survey also revealed differences in attitude to AI between consumers in the US, Asia and the European Union.

For example, regarding concerns and security, US consumers were appreciably more willing for their personal data to be stored in the cloud – 52 per cent were in favour compared to 40 per cent each in Asia and the EU.

Asked what jobs AI machines would do better than humans – thinking specifically about safety and efficiency – most people cited heavy construction, followed by delivery of packages, piloting public transport, life-saving surgery, military uses, firefighting, agriculture and cooking.

The biggest drawbacks of a future in which AI significantly impacted human life were identified: 30 per cent felt fewer or different jobs was a potential threat. Also high on the radar of responses were giving some control over our lives to machines; more data being shared and potentially stolen online; societal issues around fewer opportunities for humans; feeling less useful and having too much free time; machines becoming independent and able to think for themselves; and a tendency to build relations with machines over humans.

Ninety-four per cent of global consumers surveyed thought it important that AI devices could understand and communicate using natural human language.
But there were plenty of upsides in the responses, especially when consumers were asked: Which of the vast array of applications excite consumers the most? Healthcare scored highly.

Favourites were medical apps that will diagnose diseases earlier; traffic control that alters lights and vehicle flow in real time to cut congestion; personal companions and assistants e.g. with the ability to look after elderly people; fully autonomous vehicles that were safer; call centre audio bots or avatars with natural language capability to deal with inquiries; houses and offices that react instinctively to users’ needs.
Seventy per cent of consumers would trust autonomous vehicles in 10 years while 55 per cent trust them now. Sixty per cent liked the traffic control idea to cut congestion; 50 per cent believed autonomous vehicles were far safer and 47 per cent of global consumers would prefer an AI doctor over a human doctor given a choice.

Consumers were also asked what kind of AI device interactions they would  be comfortable with over the next five years to improve their lifestyle.

Sixty per cent cited using an AI system to provide home security - e.g. unlocking doors for approved people; 52 per cent went for AI powered biometric devices that constantly monitor your health and provide improvement ideas; 44 per cent quoted using an AI device linked to your fitness profile to suggest food regimes; 37 per cent plumped for providing intelligent parental content control on all device content depending on who is accessing it; 28 per cent cited using an AI device as a clothing stylist to assess what you are wearing and suggest alternatives.


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