Data Driven Futures

Two thirds worried AI will take their jobs

Written by Peter Walker
06/08/19

Two thirds (67 per cent) of UK adults are worried artificial intelligence (AI) will result in jobs being lost to machines.

This is according to think tank and development company Fountech.ai, which surveyed a nationally-representative group of more than 2,000 people.

It showed the majority of Britons (58 per cent) think AI tools that recommend products to customers - such as the software used by Amazon and Netflix - are creepy, while a similar number (59 per cent) have become more nervous about the way their personal data is collected and used since the rise of AI.

A quarter (24 per cent) of respondents even stated that AI could be responsible for the end of humankind. However, three fifths (62 per cent) said the technology will do more good to the world around us than it will harm.

Elsewhere, the research highlighted an underlying lack of awareness when it comes to AI and its already widespread uses. In fact, 37 per cent of UK adults said they did not fully understand what the term artificial intelligence means.

Furthermore, only 30 per cent claimed to regularly use technologies that are powered by AI. This is despite the fact that tools such as Google’s search engine, Siri, most major email providers and Facebook all use forms of AI.

One in three (31 per cent) respondents said they do not think AI will ever be able to truly replicate the cognitive ability of humans. Nevertheless, three quarters (74 per cent) wanted to see the UK government do more to govern the way AI technologies are developed and used.

Nikolas Kairinos, chief executive and founder of Fountech, commented: “People tend to fear what they don’t understand, and today’s research is an example of this – for decades, AI has been misrepresented in sci-fi movies and literary fiction, but we should not let this blinker our view of how this amazing technology can enhance the world around us.

“Importantly, as this study shows, the technology must be harnessed and used in the right way – the ethical questions surrounding the development of AI will rightly remain until both governments and businesses show they are applying it in responsible, safe ways.”