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AI used primarily to save time and money - Gartner

AI used primarily to save time and money - Gartner

Saving time and money is the main reason why consumers would consider using Artificial Intelligence (AI), according to research by Gartner.

The 2018 Gartner consumer AI perceptions study, conducted online during January and February 2018 among 4,019 respondents in the US and the UK, revealed that 58% of respondents would use AI if it saved time by taking over certain tasks.

Moreover, 53% would use AI it helped save money.

Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner, said, "AI is among the technologies that consumers consider using for tangible and more 'serious' benefits, as opposed to socialising, projecting self-image and having fun - three common reasons for using other personal technologies. We can think of AI being able to look for the best deal for a specific purchase, or find the best route to a particular destination, enabling to save money on toll payments and fuel."

47% of respondents would use AI if it gave them easier access to information, such as travel and transportation directions and details of their everyday consumption of goods.

Discomfort with emotion AI

"Consumers are ready for a new relationship with AI technologies, but have clear preferences about how they want that relationship to occur," said Anthony Mullen, research director at Gartner.

The survey also found that more than 70% of respondents feel comfortable with AI analysing their vital signs, and with AI identification of voice and facial features to keep transactions secure.

"Nevertheless, when it comes to AI examining emotion in voices or facial expressions, 52 per cent of respondents do not want AI to analyse their facial expressions to understand how they feel. Furthermore, 63 per cent do not want AI to take an always-on listening approach to get to know them better," according to Gartner.

"Not all consumers are driven by the same motives for letting AI observe them," added Baghdassarian. "Millennials care about AI understanding them better and adapting interactions based on what they do, feel and need. Baby boomers seek safety and security when they let AI observe them. Generation Xers are close to millennials in terms of attitude toward AI understanding their needs, and close to baby boomers when it comes to safety and security."

Privacy a concern

When it comes to privacy, consumers are sceptical about the use of AI and are concerned about what it may mean.

"Sixty-five per cent of respondents believe that AI will destroy their privacy, rather than improve it," said Mullen. "As the shift to communicate with systems from humans to machines will accelerate, IT leaders must tailor AI's approaches to customer engagement by persona to persona in order to cater for varying views and preferences. In addition, they need to respect user privacy as well as use AI tools to support privacy and transparency goals."

Gartner has named democratised AI as part of five emerging technology trends in its Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2018 report.

The research and analysis firm believes AI will play a critical role in enabling companies "to be ubiquitous, always available, and connected to business ecosystems to survive."

In June 2018, Google made headlines when it announced it will open an AI research centre in Accra, Ghana – the first AI research centre in Africa.

It was reported that the centre will bring together machine learning experts and engineers on projects focused on technology and various applications.

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