Tech Industry

Most Americans believe AI will help them (says AI company)

Commentary: A study released by AI software platform Conversica suggests that only 1 in 5 people believe AI will ruin their careers.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


A female robot attendant at an exposition has illuminated, heart-shaped eyes.

She says she loves you. But will she love taking your job too?

Zhang Peng/Getty Images

It doesn't really matter what Elon Musk says.

When it comes to artificial intelligence, he's a bit of a hawk. Or even a Hawking

He stokes fear of a robot doomsday and demands we regulate robots now, when in fact real humans are rather looking forward to AI and the bounteous gifts it will bring.

I judge this from a new piece of research that's landed under my nose. 

It declares, for example, that 75 percent of the 1,017 adults questioned during a June survey believe AI is here to help humans. 

A mere 19 percent agree with the doomsday scenario in which robots put people out of work and out to pasture. 

I should alert you to the fact that this research was sponsored by Conversica. This happens to be, oh, an artificial intelligence company that promises to "create engaging conversations so that you can reach your sales goals." Engaging conversations with a robot, that is. 

And what conversations these can be. Just look at what men say to Conversica's female-sounding robots.

I fear that not everyone will agree with the spirit of these research findings. Some experts speak of AI causing a considerable decimation of jobs -- and not merely lower-paying ones.

Still, in this touchingly optimistic research, 26 percent of people said they looked forward to doing fewer repetitive tasks, thanks to AI. Eighteen percent said they hoped AI would help them learn tasks faster, and 16 percent actually believe AI will help them make better and faster decisions. 

On how many people to fire, perhaps.

If there's one thing technology has shown us in recent times, it's how fast change will come. Indeed, I suspect much of the alleged optimism expressed in this research stems from fear.

Forty percent of respondents said they have to embrace AI or miss out on job opportunities. Thirty-five percent admitted that if they didn't embrace AI, they'd be replaced by those who did.

Now that sounds a little more realistic.

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