Despite massive corporate investments in artificial intelligence (AI), nearly three-quarters of consumers are concerned about AI infringing on their privacy, according to a new study from Genpact, a global professional services firm focused on delivering digital transformation.
The survey of more than 5,000 people across the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia also reveals that 59 per cent of respondents think their governments should do more to protect personal data from AI.
Consumers' wariness of AI contrasts significantly with optimism expressed by corporate management. According to a Genpact study conducted earlier this year, 88 percent of senior executives at companies that are leaders in AI expect the technology will drive better customer experiences within three years.
In the consumer research released, only 12 percent of people surveyed say they would prefer to be served by a chatbot, even if the service they receive is faster and more accurate than that of a human. Yet over three times more executives (38 percent) think their customers will prefer service by a chatbot in three years, according to Genpact's senior management study. Companies need to lay the groundwork now to address this disconnect and pave the way for smooth AI adoption.
Although companies continue to embrace AI (for example, 82 percent of senior executives say they plan to implement AI-related technologies by 2020), many potential customers still have substantial fears. Nearly two thirds of respondents in the consumer study worry that AI will make decisions that will impact their lives without their knowledge. Moreover, 58 percent of people surveyed do not feel comfortable with companies using AI to access their data to personalise and improve their experiences with a brand.
"AI is a game-changer to improve the customer experience, yet real challenges remain regarding trust and privacy. To encourage adoption, the key is to have visibility into AI decisions, and be able to track and explain the logic behind them. Companies need to break through the 'black box' to drive better insights for their business and give consumers the assurance they need," said Sanjay Srivastava, chief digital officer, Genpact.
Even with explosive growth of home digital assistants, chatbots, smart sensors, etc., consumers still perceive they have little contact with AI. Less than half of those surveyed say they interact with some form of AI regularly. In addition, two in five (41 per cent) believe that AI has made no difference to their lives.
However, the study also shows that younger generations interact with AI more frequently and cite its benefits. They are twice as more likely than older people surveyed to say AI is making their lives better. Younger generations also don't need the human touch quite as much: Only one third of Gen-Z and millennials strongly agree that they prefer human interaction rather than AI, compared to 57 per cent of baby boomers.
"Younger generations' rapidly changing views underscore how AI, even in these early days, is the single biggest shift that is transforming how people interact with businesses and the world around them. The companies that will win in this new world are ones that seize AI's potential in a way that deeply understands and solves for consumers' concerns," said Sanjay.