Data Driven Futures
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Nearly 90% say AI needs human supervision

Written by Hannah McGrath
01/08/2019

A survey of UK consumers has revealed that 86 per cent think that the rise in artificial intelligence (AI) requires more accountability from government and technology leaders to tackle bias in automated decision making.

A survey of more than 2,000 UK citizens by data integration and analytics firm Qlik found that debate over the impact of AI on job losses is moving to a fresh debate over the role of humans in AI programming, the potential for bias and where accountability should lie for trying to resolve this issue.

The survey found that Brits were becoming increasingly familiar with AI-based technologies, with 64 per cent aware that AI is a machine or computer system that simulates human intelligence, and not a physical robot.

There is also general optimism about the positive impact of AI, with a quarter thinking that AI is fundamentally a force for good, with almost half of those respondents (45 per cent) believing that it can help solve major world issues such as diagnosing illnesses.

By contrast, only 13 per cent thought AI was a “force for evil”, overall.

The survey shows that the UK public is now shifting its concerns to the role of humans in AI as this technology grows and evolves. Over a third (41 per cent) think AI in its current state is biased and 38 per cent blame inaccurate data for this bias.

Furthermore, over 32 per cent think that the technology industry has a greater role to play in encouraging gender diversity in AI, with 31 per cent calling on the government to take responsibility for these challenges.

Qlik suggested the findings point to a greater need for a new breed of AI known as ‘augmented intelligence’ – a force that amplifies the power of human intuition with the scale and speed of machine intelligence.

Elif Tutuk, senior director of research at Qlik, said the survey was evidence that the UK public realises that bias will hold AI technology back from reaching its full potential. “Bias is often caused by incomplete data sets, and perhaps most importantly, a lack of context around those data sets,” he said.

“For the AI industry to grow and flourish – it needs trust at its core,” he explained. “If we can empower more men and women to become more data literate - having a better understanding of how to read, analyse and understand data - we can create a more level playing field for the growth of the UK’s AI industry.”