Are consumers’ AI fears rational?
Many consumers were initially concerned about how the internet tracked their browsing habits but grew accustomed to it after enjoying the technology’s benefits. Is artificial intelligence (AI) going through the same phase?
According to a new global study from Pegasystems, the business process and customer relationship management vendor, only 36 percent of survey respondents were comfortable with businesses using AI to engage with them. The survey of 6,000 in six countries found 28 percent were uncomfortable and 37 percent indicated neither.
Asked whether they agreed that AI can provide the same, if not better, levels of customer service than a human can today, 38 percent disagreed versus 27 percent agreeing. One-third agreed that AI is “never going to know me and my preferences as well as a human being.”
Other findings in the survey showed confusion about AI and indicated that fear of the unknown may be inhibiting consumers from embracing AI-based technology.
While only 34 percent of respondents thought they had directly experienced AI, it turned out that when further questioned 84 percent had actually used at least one AI-powered service or device — virtual home assistants, intelligent chatbots or predictive product suggestions. Only 41 percent knew AI was present in Amazon Alexa and 57 percent in Apple’s Siri.
While 72 percent claimed they understand AI, far fewer could correctly define what it is or what it can do. Those who indicated they were familiar with AI were twice as open to engaging with the technology than those who weren’t. Nearly 70 percent wanted to experience more AI if it would help make their lives easier.
Pegasystems concluded that the results suggest businesses should be more transparent about the fair and pragmatic use of AI in their products and services. Don Schuerman, VP, product marketing and CTO, said in a statement, “Businesses need to focus on using AI to develop applications that provide real value for customers to improve their experiences rather than overhyping the technology itself.”
- New Research Reveals Deep Confusion About Artificial Intelligence (press release) – Pegasystems
- What Consumers Really Think About AI: A Global Study (study) – Pegasystems
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will a preference for human interaction and technology fears hold back the acceptance of AI-driven engagement? What steps should retailers or brands be taking to reduce any AI apprehension?