Our survey shows AI acceptance has passed a critical mass among businesses – but consumers’ perceptions remain a barrier to bigger and better successes.
If fear and doubt around AI, its ethics and fairness, are able to proliferate and take hold in public opinion there’s a real risk businesses might have to leave a powerful tool on the shelf.
To understand the current perceptions of AI among both consumers and businesses, the drivers of those perceptions, and the factors that might cause them to shift, we surveyed 5,004 consumers and 1,250 business-side decision makers, influencers and users of AI, in a range of industries.
Here’s a snapshot of what we learned (and you can read the full report here).
Businesses are bullish on the revenue generating potential of AI
Businesses are expecting some eye-catching improvements in the ability to generate revenue with AI/ML: 50% believe increased revenue will be a main outcome of AI in three years’ time, compared to just 19% today. And, already, 68% of businesses believe 1-10% of revenue can be attributed to AI, with 25% believing that number to be between 11-20%.
The takeaway: We could be seeing the first green shoots of a breakthrough in the maturity and scope of AI use in business. Success in key areas of the business, as measured by increased revenue, can only increase AI’s mandate throughout the organization. As it does, success will breed more success to drive further penetration into the business.
Business perceptions show there are still questions over how to use AI
While respondents to the survey tend to report strong support from the business for AI, 63% still felt that their business is investing in the technology without yet knowing how to exploit it. This perhaps serves as a reminder that, even with the previously-noted bullish outlook, the status of AI/ML might still best be described as “emerging”.
The takeaway: Despite these challenges, 46% of respondents also believe AI is heading in a positive direction, driven mainly by investments in technology and the growing adoption and implementation of AI into everyday life. Training and familiarity, regulation and policy, and technology maturity make up the remainder of the top 5. This serves to strengthen the impression of a technology undergoing, or approaching, a transition into the mainstream of business use.
Consumer trust in AI is on a knife edge
When it comes to trust in AI – most consumers are unsure (37%) or don’t trust it (28%). Concerns range from its potential to lead to job losses, which comes up most often, closely followed by its potential to be used for crime or the fact it opens the door to unauthorized use of personal data.
And there are huge differences in the sources of information that consumers report basing their understanding of AI on, and those that businesses think influence consumer perceptions. Business respondents believe industry trends, real world experience of AI/ML, and consultants/analysts are the top informers of AI for the general population. Yet consumers list news media, social media, companies they communicate with, non-fiction books and tv shows – even science fiction – as their top influencers when understanding AI.
The takeaway: There’s a stark divergence in the levels of positivity and trust around AI reported by businesses and consumers. And the prospects for closing the gap look slim while misperceptions persist among businesses over the sources of information that shape public opinion.
You can find out more about the findings from our study, including what’s on the wish lists of both consumers and businesses when it comes to easing concerns and challenges around AI, by downloading the white paper “Research report: AI and the power of perception”.
Download the white paper