Sage Survey Provides Reality Check on Artificial Intelligence's Impact

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Sage Survey Provides Reality Check on Artificial Intelligence's Impact

The technology industry is placing big bets on artificial intelligence, with the expectation that it will deliver major productivity and profit benefits across the global economy. It seems that every new technology product that is introduced these days has been enhanced in some way with artificial intelligence. Industrial process control, the internet of things, vehicles, business software and smart home products are all being integrated with some type of AI application. Now a new study from Sage Group examines how well consumers and corporate workers are adapting to AI in their work and lives. The report found that while some people are generally excited about AI, a surprising number aren't particularly aware of the implications of AI in their homes or offices.

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It's Time to Educate People About AI

There is a need for broader education about what artificial intelligence is and what it is not. According to Sage, 43 percent of Americans surveyed have "no idea what artificial intelligence is all about." Sage suggests that the technology industry work hard to bring people up to speed.

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Most People View AI Positively

Even though a large number of people don't have a good grasp on what artificial intelligence is, still, more than 80 percent of respondents generally believe AI could have a positive impact on their lives. That was despite 18.1 percent of U.S. tech enthusiasts saying they feared to some degree "the subjugation of humanity" to AI.

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Women in the U.S. Are Excited

Women—especially young women—appear to be particularly excited about artificial intelligence, according to Sage. In fact, 38 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 24 with a background in technology believe artificial intelligence will improve their lives "in the near future." That was the largest number of any demographic.

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Worker Impression of AI Differs Among Industries

According to Sage, 18.7 percent of U.S. retail workers believe artificial intelligence presents positive opportunities for them and their colleagues. However, more than one in five health care professionals believe AI will have no positive effect on their careers.

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An End to Repetition?

One of the early benefits of artificial intelligence may be the elimination of repetitive workplace tasks, Sage's data suggests. About four in 10 American tech professionals said artificial intelligence will eliminate "repetitive workplace tasks." Another 41 percent said AI will "diminish the need for repeating tasks."

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The AI Voice Assistant Is Popular Among Consumers

For those consumers who use artificial intelligence, the largest number use it through voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri and Cortana, according to the survey. Twenty-one percent of American respondents are using those services, Sage found.

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AI Goes Personal—Maybe

Sage's data shows that 59.3 percent of American consumers are "open" to the idea of artificial intelligence applications handling their personal tasks. However, that figure drops to 53.6 percent when it comes to professional tasks.

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Ethics Is a Major Concern

Ethics was cited as the top concern in artificial intelligence development. Looking ahead, nearly six in 10 Americans said it's incumbent upon technology companies and researchers to focus on ethics during the AI development process.

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What About Security?

In the United States, 42.1 percent of technology professionals said cyber-security is their top concern as artificial intelligence continues to develop. Forty-three percent of consumers working outside the technology industry said that security is their top concern.

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AI's Five Core Principles

Sage's study also looked at how to develop AI technologies for business. When developing AI technologies, Sage suggests focusing on five "core principles": AI should account for user diversity; AI and users should be held accountable; AI should "show its workings"; AI should "level the playing field" for companies; and AI should focus on creating, as well as replacing, outdated technologies.

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