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AI Perception and Apprehension Report Finds Over a Quarter of Consumers Believe AI is Misunderstood

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Today, Cogito released its AI Perception and Apprehension findings, designed to capture consumers’ understanding of artificial intelligence (AI), their overall perception and utilization, and any apprehensions related to data privacy and regulation.

According to the findings, a quarter of consumers (26%) believe that AI is misunderstood. The survey reinforced the need for organizations to demystify AI, become more transparent about the technology’s uses and educate how humans and machines can work in symbiosis.

Highlighted findings include:

AI Has Clear Workplace Benefits, But Hesitation Persists

This year, IDC predicts the worldwide AI market will grow to $327.5 billion, signaling growth in adoption and interest for the technology. AI allows companies to meet digital innovation, business intelligence, and human empathy needs with machine support in the workplace, balancing human intelligence with machine intelligence. Cogito’s survey revealed that when it comes to the general perceptions of AI, only 10% of respondents believe the technology is a threat to jobs. However, when asked about workplace perceptions of AI more specifically, a slightly higher number of respondents (15%) reported AI could be a threat to jobs.

The survey highlighted lingering hesitations and a lack of trust that must be addressed today to pave the way for future, long-term technology adoption and success. Specifically, the survey found that while 45% of respondents believe AI can support employees making difficult tasks easier and 22% agree AI can take care of mundane, repetitive tasks, still 23% are unlikely to trust recommendations informed by AI-enabled tools.

“There is an AI trust gap that must be closed. It starts with being more explicit about AI’s role and the support it provides humans,” David Sudbey, President and Chief Customer Officer of Cogito, explained. “We have an opportunity to augment customer and employee experiences, enhance human performance, and create improved outcomes for both employees and customers. Though many realize AI’s potential, the creators and organizations using the technology must play a role in demystifying it to ensure we have a more productive, trusting and open-minded future of work – one in which humans and AI can work together in symbiosis.”

Today’s Sentiment will Shape AI Standards of Conduct

With so many emerging technologies and use cases for AI, the survey gauged the sentiment around regulation and the standards of conduct to which the industry follows. One-third of respondents believe federal regulation of AI-enabled tools would help them become more comfortable with the technology. When exploring the requirements and opinions related to companies, 39% of respondents would feel more comfortable using AI-enabled tools if brands had a clear customer code of practice. Additionally, nearly half of respondents (43%) would have a more positive perception of a company and AI if companies were more explicit about their use of AI, the data collected and how it is used.

“Collectively, we must create technology that is effective and fair for everyone—this includes supporting standards of conduct designed to remove bias and improve the technology,” said Josh Feast, CEO and co-founder of Cogito. “Today, we have the power to follow industry principles that ultimately increase trust in AI. It’s not enough to create and deploy the technology. Instead, we must prioritize delivering transparency and communicating the clear benefits to all. I believe that by supporting standards of conduct, prioritizing debiasing techniques and making AI fair, we can operate in the interest of advancing technology and of supporting people.”

Full Survey Findings

Which best describes your general perception of AI?

  • AI is a powerful, positive innovation (42%)
  • AI is often misunderstood (26%)
  • AI is a buzzword (12%)
  • AI is a threat to jobs (10%)
  • AI is untrustworthy (10%)

Which best describes your perception of AI-enabled tools in the workplace?

  • They support employees by making difficult tasks easier (45%)
  • They take care of mundane and repetitive tasks, so I do not have to (22%)
  • They take jobs away from people (15%)
  • They are used to monitor employees (11%)
  • They are too complicated to implement (8%)

How likely are you to trust a recommendation informed by an AI-enabled tool? (Select one)

  • Very likely (28%)
  • Somewhat likely (49%)
  • Not likely (23%)

When it comes to data privacy and AI, which of the following best describes your concerns?

  • I am concerned about my data privacy because I do not fully understand what AI-enabled tools are tracking (42%)
  • I am concerned about my data privacy because I fully understand what AI-enabled tools are tracking and believe it is an infringement on my privacy (30%)
  • I am not concerned about my data privacy and do not fully understand what AI-enabled tools are tracking (14%)
  • I am not concerned about my data privacy and I fully understand what AI-enabled tools are tracking (14%)

Do you know what data is being collected by AI-enabled technologies you use and how it is being used?

  • Yes, I know what data is being collected and how it is being used (22%)
  • Yes, I know what data is being collected, but I do not know how it is being used (23%)
  • No, I do not know what data is being collected, but I do know how it is being used (17%)
  • No, I do not know what data is being collected or how it is being used (38%)

Which of the following best describes you when it comes to the regulation of AI-enabled tools?

  • I would feel more comfortable using AI-enabled tools with increased federal regulation of AI (33%)
  • I would feel more comfortable using AI-enabled tools if brands had a clear customer code of practice (39%)
  • I would feel just as comfortable using AI-enabled tools with or without increased regulation (12%)
  • I do not care about the regulation of AI-enabled tools (17%)

If companies were more explicit about their use of AI technology, the data that they collect and how it is used, would it have a positive impact on your perception of the company and AI?

  • Yes, I would have a more positive perception of the company and AI (43%)
  • Yes, I would have a more positive perception of the company, but not on AI (21%)
  • No, I would not have a more positive perception of the company or AI (12%)
  • Unsure (24%)

Methodology

Dynata, a leading market research company, conducted this survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers (ages 18-65+) on behalf of Cogito.

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