Most Americans are bullish about the potential good that artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can do for society, according to a recent survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
A majority of the (63 percent) of the 2,500 consumers and business decision makers in the U.S. that were polled by the accounting and professional services provider said they believe that AI will help solve complex societal problems. Sixty-eight percent said enlisting AI will help solve problems surrounding cybersecurity and privacy and 66 percent are hopeful it can help cure cancer and other diseases.
As the report notes, AI systems can help make short work of vast and complex volumes of data.
“With the enormous amount of DNA data being recorded today, AI could revolutionize personalized healthcare by analyzing that data; wearables and ingestibles could monitor and correct human behavior to maximize life expectancy and enhance wellbeing,” stated the PwC report. “We’ve already seen AI successfully identify autism in babies with 81 percent accuracy and skin cancer with 91 percent accuracy.”
Sixty-two percent believe AI can solve clean energy problems and 61 percent said AI can be used to combat personal financial fraud. More than half (58 percent) think it can boost global education efforts while 56 percent believe it can contribute to global health.
Only 23 percent of respondents said that AI will have a negative, potentially disastrous impact on society. Although most folks don’t believe that the technology will have world-ending effects, many still harbor concerns about how it will impact their own lives.
Nearly half of the people surveyed by PwC said that AI will cause harm by taking away jobs.
In general, most people believe that AI will be an ally not an adversary, particularly in the workplace. Executive believe that AI can have a beneficial effect on their day-to-day work life by taking over menial tasks like filling out timesheets (78 percent), setting schedules (79 percent) and dealing with paperwork in general (82 percent).
The report also makes the case for an “augmented C-suite,” noting that 70 percent of business executives think AI can help people concentrate on meaningful work and make more room in their lives for leisure activities. Seventy-two percent of executives consider AI “the business advantage of the future.”
Even rank and file workers are looking to AI to enhance their workday, particularly younger employees. Last week, AI software maker Conversica released a study showing that most millennials (61 percent) want a helping hand from AI assistants at work.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.