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AI’s biggest obstacle—consumers don’t fully understand or trust it

by | Nov 5, 2019 | Public Relations

New research from real estate tech firm Entrata reveals that even though many consumers know the broad definition of Artificial Intelligence (the ability of a computer program or a machine to think and learn similar to how a human would), most don’t fully understand its scope or the countless ways in which it affects their lives. Due to this lack of understanding, many still harbor a lack of trust for the technology.

“No matter how you look at it, AI is a huge part of our present and will be an even larger part of our future,” said Chase Harrington, president and chief operating officer, in a news release. “Our study shows that many people don’t fully understand the technology and it makes them mistrust it. At Entrata, we’re always pushing the technology envelope and AI is a big part of what’s going to continue to make our products leaders in the space.”

Key findings of the survey include:

What is Artificial Intelligence anyway?

More than 38 percent of respondents have either just heard of AI or have no idea what it is. Surprisingly, of those who claimed to be an expert in their understanding of AI, 20 percent not only got the definition wrong, but they were significantly more likely to get the definition wrong than other groups who say they know only a little or have just heard of it.

Despite this lack of understanding, more than half (52 percent) of people say they feel comfortable interacting with AI—which is good, because more than 40 percent of people use some form of AI on a daily basis, whether that be Gmail, Siri or Alexa, or Netflix and much more.

AI’s biggest obstacle—consumers don't fully understand or trust it

People just want chatbots to work

It’s clear people don’t understand chatbots (computer programs designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet), with 33 percent of people thinking that Alexa and Siri are chatbots. In fact, 20 percent of people claim to have never interacted with a chatbot, and nearly 30 percent of people don’t think they would recognize when they’re interacting with one.

AI’s biggest obstacle—consumers don't fully understand or trust it

That said, respondents reported that their favorite things about using chatbots include:

  • It’s available 24/7 (39 percent)
  • It’s easily accessible (15 percent)
  • It’s quick and efficient (12 percent)
  • They don’t have to talk to a real person (9 percent)

Despite people overall wanting chatbots to have more human-like personality traits, 36 percent of respondents don’t care about those traits as long as they get the information and help they need.

AI for president

Despite their trepidation around AI, it turns out that people trust the technology more than they trust President Trump, the Russians and sometimes even their grandma.

  • 90 percent of people trust AI more than the Russians
  • 79 percent of people trust AI more than President Trump
  • 73 percent of people trust AI more than the government
  • 71 percent of people trust AI more than Wall Street
  • 47 percent of people trust AI more than their neighbor
  • 41 percent of people trust AI more than their co-workers
  • 40 percent of people trust AI more than the police
  • 25 percent of people trust AI more than their spouse
  • 23 percent of people trust AI more than their grandma

AI’s biggest obstacle—consumers don't fully understand or trust it

Read the survey summary here.

Generated by Entrata and fielded in August 2019, the survey collected online responses via Qualtrics from 1,051 U.S. consumers who are over the age of 18.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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