The power of AI
To be revered or feared?

We are living increasingly in a time where machines are performing tasks and making decisions that were previously only done by humans. Welcome to the world of Artificial intelligence: where human acts of learning, reasoning, and self-correction are perfectly simulated by computer systems and software. Today, AI is not just behind many technological breakthroughs, it has become an integral part of technology itself.

Thanks to the never-ending debates and discussions, AI is not that baffling or complicated anymore. Far from the complex and sometimes even the human-race-ending scare, today, AI is seen as the way forward, if not a harmless one. As one of the world leaders in AI adoption, how much do ordinary Americans know about AI and what do they think about its development? Piplsay (powered by Market Cube) reached out to people* across the country to get these answers, and this is what we found:

While it’s much easier to think of AI in terms of robots, self-driving cars or virtual assistants, the fact is, it has already become an intrinsic part of our daily lives, whether we like it or not. And a majority of Americans seem to agree with that as well. Still, there are many who may be unaware of its common applications. From Google Maps, Gmail’s smart replies, Netflix’s video recommendations to Uber’s ride-sharing apps, AI is increasingly guiding our lives, both online and offline, and is doing so quietly, indirectly, and quite unknowingly.

That almost 80% of Piplsay respondents are aware of AI says a lot about it’s growing influence. However, what comes as a bigger surprise is that a majority of Americans have begun to view it as a positive development, even if it means losing a few jobs initially.

Today, machine learning, automation, and robotics are already widely used in businesses, but given their limited application and reach, their effects in terms of workplace transformation have so far been subtle. Overall, AI is mostly seen as making employees more efficient while replacing only the mundane jobs. Still, about 30% of Americans share extreme views about AI, which points to their lack of trust in digital evolution.

Even in terms of its benefits, over 50% of Americans believe that AI will benefit both the rich and the poor. This has much to do with AI’s contribution towards alleviating hunger as well as improving healthcare and education, among many others. From diagnosing and detecting high-risk diseases, providing education to children in far-flung regions to monitoring and improving crop and soil health, AI is been used in good measures to benefit those who may otherwise have been left to deal with these problems alone.

Naturally, given the positive sentiment towards AI development, only about 22% of Americans have strong reservations about its growing influence in their lives. About the same percentage of Americans, though comfortable with AI, also seem a bit wary about its enormous reach. What these two groups may have in common, is their demand for some regulation that will safeguard individual rights and privacy.

Artificial Intelligence is not a new concept. It has evolved over many years and has been applied in many ways. But given its widespread acceptance and integration, it’s time we start noticing it in our daily lives.

* Based on 20,500 online responses

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