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Trust is AI’s elusive hurdle: Business leaders are excited, but everyone else is still skeptical—and it’s brands’ biggest AI challenge

by | May 25, 2023 | Public Relations

Juggernaut wunderkind that it is, AI has permeated all business operations—marketing and communications certainly among them—and become a big priority for brand and company digital investments and education over the course of just a few months. Top-level execs couldn’t be more excited about whole-company integration of the power of AI, even at this early stage of development. 

But new research from AI integration tech firm Krista Software reveals that the one thing AI hasn’t won over is consumer and cultural trust, especially if they are directly affected—and this may be the biggest challenge for organizations to overcome in the near term.

Trust is AI’s elusive hurdle: Business leaders are excited, but everyone else is still skeptical—and it’s brands’ biggest AI challenge

The findings in the firm’s new 2023 AI Trust Survey demonstrate that while most Americans are now aware of artificial intelligence, their understanding of how it works varies greatly depending on factors such as age and job position—and despite being open to AI handling specific tasks, survey respondents displayed strong reluctance to trust AI with decisions that could significantly impact their lives.

Trust is AI’s elusive hurdle: Business leaders are excited, but everyone else is still skeptical—and it’s brands’ biggest AI challenge

Highlights from the survey include:

A fast-growing awareness and understanding of AI in America

A solid majority (58 percent) of respondents acknowledged AI’s existence, with Gen Z (61 percent) and Millennials (56 percent) feeling more confident in their understanding compared to a mere 24 percent of older generations.

AI’s perceived impact on jobs worries most workers

More than half (54 percent) of Americans believe AI will affect their jobs, with management professionals anticipating positive outcomes, while rank-and-file workers remain less optimistic.

Human decision making is still favored over AI in important or personal matters

In life-or-death situations, 67 percent of respondents would not trust AI to make critical decisions. Even among those who generally support the use of AI for certain tasks, there’s a noticeable resistance when it comes to situations where the outcomes could directly or indirectly affect them personally—75 percent, for example, would rather a human choose their work attire, not AI.

Trust is AI’s elusive hurdle: Business leaders are excited, but everyone else is still skeptical—and it’s brands’ biggest AI challenge

Overall, there’s a general ambivalence towards AI

Although most respondents are aware of AI’s growing integration into everyday tools and platforms, the largest group (36 percent) described their overall attitude towards AI as “Neutral,” with 32 percent indicating a “Slightly Positive” stance.

“The survey results emphasize the importance of public awareness and transparency in how AI functions to build trust among people whose lives, jobs, and freedoms may be impacted by AI adoption,” said John Michelsen, CEO and co-founder of Krista Software, in a news release. “As we integrate AI into our lives and business processes, we must consider that users and consumers may not have computer or data science backgrounds. Business leaders must understand this and deploy AI in a way that they can build trust in AI decisions.”

Trust is AI’s elusive hurdle: Business leaders are excited, but everyone else is still skeptical—and it’s brands’ biggest AI challenge

Read the full report here.

The company surveyed 1,000 adults from across the United States to gauge their current knowledge, sentiments, and trust in AI for performing tasks and making critical decisions.

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 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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