Robots to enhance, not replace humans in most jobs: ARM survey


Jun 28, 2017

Key findings:

  • 61% of respondents think AI will help society, with only 22% believing change will be negative

  • Future jobs: 30% list job concerns as biggest drawback of AI citing construction, delivery and transportation as being most impacted

  • Healthcare: 57% willing to let an AI doctor perform an eye exam; 41% open to brain surgery by an AI doctor

  • Autonomous driving: 55% would trust an autonomous car if safety record is proven better than human-driven vehicles, with 70% expecting to trust them in a decade

June 27, 2017 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

CAMBRIDGE, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Consumers who believe AI will lead to rampaging, job-taking robot chaos are in the minority according to an ARM-commissioned independent global survey of nearly 4000 consumers. When considering a future where Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly part of their lives, 30 percent of consumers identified "fewer or different jobs for humans" as the biggest drawback. However, respondents remained positive that robots would enhance rather than replace humans in most jobs, and assist by increasingly performing more tedious and dangerous jobs.

"It is encouraging to see the survey results highlighting the optimism and opportunities tied to AI, but we are just scratching the surface of its potential," said Joyce Kim, vice president, global marketing, brand and communications, ARM. "The impact of AI on jobs will be disruptive but it can be a manageable and highly positive disruption in terms of opportunities and enhancing our lives. If we increase our investments in STEM and educating the next-generation workforce on AI technologies, we can ensure they are not left behind in the robot economy."

The survey was carried out by Northstar Research Partners and ARM. Researchers surveyed only consumers with some knowledge of AI, gauging opinions from nearly 4,000 respondents across the US, UK, Sweden, Germany, China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

Survey respondents believed that jobs in manufacturing and banking would be most disrupted by new AI technologies while professions related to cooking, fire-fighting and farming will continue to be the domain of humans. This was the view of most people surveyed about a robotic future; with those surveyed in Asia responding most positively, followed by the US and then Europe.

Overall, consumers were surprisingly optimistic on the future outlook with 61 percent believing that "society would become better" with increased automation and AI. In particular they support applications in health care and science, and are prepared to trust machines to diagnose illnesses, drive cars and be personal companions.

Key Survey Findings Summary: Benefits vs Drawbacks for Consumers

What is the biggest benefit of a future in which AI significantly impacts life?

  • 37% believe there will be advancements that help humans, i.e., in medicine and science

  • 29% believe tedious or dangerous tasks will be done by robots

  • 19% believe in lower business cost leading to better service and lower prices

  • 11% see less chance of human accidents/ mistakes

  • 5% more free time

What is the biggest drawback of a future in which AI significantly impacts life?

  • 30% Fewer or different jobs for humans

  • 20% Giving some control over our lives to machines

  • 18% More data being shared and potentially stolen online

  • 12% Societal issues around fewer opportunities for humans/ feeling less useful/ too much free time

  • 11% Machines becoming independent and able to think for themselves

  • 9% Tendency to build relationships with machines more than humans

Learn more about this research and download the full report here.

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