Consumers Looking for Education as Artificial Intelligence Infiltrates Our World

July 17, 2018


New Industry Report from FleishmanHillard Breaks Down the Fads, Fears and Future of AI

ST. LOUIS, July 18, 2018 – Consumers lack a full understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and are looking to businesses, government and academia for education, according to a FleishmanHillard report released today. The report highlights that 61% of all those surveyed believe the responsibility for educating the public about AI should be shared.

The report, Artificial Intelligence & Communications, The Fads. The Fears. The Future., surveyed consumers across the United States and the United Kingdom about their current sentiment on AI. It also asked a panel of 25 global experts in the AI field to provide their perspectives on the key areas where AI is impacting our world. The result is a snapshot of the public’s attitudes on AI that analyzes common fears and opportunities, providing organizations with insights into how their audiences want them to engage going forward.

“The universal takeaway is that if the technology industry is to build public trust, we need to address the AI knowledge gap fast,” said Sophie Scott, global managing director of FleishmanHillard’s technology sector group. “We need to reassure both businesses and consumers that AI is not about remote science-fiction style gadgets in 2050. It’s about tools – now and today – that can drive productivity, boost profitability and, done correctly, help everyone live better lives.”

AI momentum is just starting to build, yet more than half of global consumers (56%) already say that it needs more regulation and restrictions. However, with proper education, these concerns may be tempered. The study found a strong appetite for further knowledge, with 53% of respondents saying they believe that education about the role of AI in society needs to improve.

“The study found that regardless of age group, consumers are looking to a combination of stakeholders from business, government and academia to help educate the public,” Scott said. “It’s not enough to build the AI system, product or solution. We need to take an active role in helping consumers understand what AI is, how it works and its implications.”

Select insights from the report include:

Positivity around AI’s potential
Nearly half (45%) of respondents either agree, or strongly agree, that the positive aspects of AI outweigh the negatives, with 49% agreeing that AI is an exciting and exhilarating topic, and that automation will change our lives and jobs for the better.

AI has yet to deliver on expectations
The public is less certain about whether AI is currently impacting our working lives. While 49% of those surveyed agree that AI and automation will change the way we work for the better, only 31% feel that they had already seen the benefits; 40% had not seen a difference. When asked to select which sectors will be most disrupted by AI over the next five years, respondents picked communications (81%), healthcare services (74%), consumer and at-home technology (72%) and social media and networking (61%). Financial services and professional services came fifth and sixth respectively, while food and agriculture was ranked as the least likely to be impacted by AI.

AI is everywhere – if you’re under 45
A majority of respondents in the United States and the UK reported encountering or using AI technologies on at least a monthly basis (59% and 51% respectively). However, of respondents aged 18 to 44, over half reported using AI on a weekly basis, and made up over 80% of those who used AI daily. Less than one third of those aged over 45 reported using AI on a weekly basis.

“While there is some apprehension around AI, our panel was focused on the future and the groundbreaking opportunities the technology will enable – rapid and precise diagnoses in healthcare, better crop yields and stronger cybersecurity, just to name a few,” Scott added.

FleishmanHillard TRUE Global Intelligence developed the research report, which was carried out by Finer Weston Data Analysis. They surveyed 2,000 consumers in the United States and UK online, with responses collected in May 2018.

Read more about the public’s attitudes and observations related to AI in The Holmes Report.

About FleishmanHillard
FleishmanHillard specializes in public relations, reputation management, public affairs, brand marketing, digital strategy, social engagement and content strategy. FleishmanHillard was named Agency of the Year at the 2017 North American Excellence Awards; 2017 ICCO Network of the Year for the Americas and EMEA; PRWeek’s Best Places to Work 2017; PR News’ Best Places to Work in PR 2016-2017; Human Rights Campaign Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality for 2018; PR Awards Asia 2017 Greater China Agency of the Year; and NAFE’s “Top 50 Companies for Executive Women” for 2010-2018. The firm’s award-winning work is widely heralded, including at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. FleishmanHillard is part of Omnicom Public Relations Group, and has more than 80 offices in 30 countries, plus affiliates in 43 countries.

About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to women, fashion, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,000 public relations professionals in more than 330 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc., that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.


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