- Most people believe they only use AI once a day when in fact it’s three times more
- One in two of us (51%) feel nervous about the future of AI, with over a third concerned about privacy (36%) and that it will lead to mass unemployment (39%)
However, nearly half of people recognise its potential for manufacturing (46%), over a third see its role in improving healthcare (38%) and medical diagnosis (32%), and a quarter of people think it can help in tackling climate change (24%)
- As the AI Safety Summit nears, over a third (36%) think the government needs to introduce more regulation as AI develops
On average, the UK public recognises AI plays a role in something we do at least once a day – whether that be in curating a personalised playlist, mapping out the quickest route from A to B, or simply to help write an email. However, hidden touch points can be found in search engines (69%), social media (66%), and streaming services (51%), which all discretely use AI, as well as tools such as Google translate (31%) and autocorrect and grammar checkers (29%).
Despite its everyday use, over half of us (51%) admit nervousness about a future with AI – with nearly a third of people feeling anxious about what it could do in the future (31%). Over a third are concerned about privacy (36%) and feeling it will lead to mass unemployment (39%).
Those surveyed who felt nervous, do so because of not knowing who controls AI (42%) and not being able to tell what is real or true with AI generated fakes (40%). They also expressed concerns that AI will become autonomous and out of control (38%). And that it will surpass human intelligence (31%).
But people do recognise and welcome the role it will play in revolutionising key sectors, such as manufacturing (46%) and healthcare (39%) and specifically medical diagnosis (32%), as well as tackling issues such as climate change (24%).
Dr. Gopichand Katragadda, IET President and a globally recognised AI authority, said: "Artificial Intelligence holds the potential to drive innovation and enhance productivity across diverse sectors like construction, energy, healthcare, and manufacturing. Yet, it is imperative that we continually evolve ethical frameworks surrounding Data and AI applications to ensure their safe and responsible development and utilisation."
He continued: "It is natural for individuals to have concerns about AI, particularly given its recent proliferation in technical discussions and media coverage. However, it’s important to recognise that AI has a longstanding presence and already forms the foundation of many daily activities, such as facial recognition on social media, navigation on maps, and personalised entertainment recommendations."
As the UK AI Safety Summit nears (1-2 November) – which will see global leaders gather to discuss the risks associated with AI and how they can be mitigated through coordinated action – the research reveals 36% of Brits think the government need to do more to regulate and manage AI development, with 30% of those who feel nervous about AI, feeling that Government regulations cannot keep pace with AI’s evolution.
Those surveyed also shared their concerns on the lack of information around AI and lack of skills and confidence to use the technology, with over a quarter of people saying they wished there was more information about how it works and how to use it (29%).
Gopi added: “What we need to see now is the UK government establishing firm rules on which data can and cannot be used to train AI systems – and ensure this is unbiased. This is necessary to ensure AI is used safely and to help prevent incidents from occurring – and it is fundamental to maintaining public trust, which underpins the economic and social benefits AI can bring.”
The research for the IET was carried out online by Opinion Matters from 16 October – 18 October 2023 amongst a panel resulting in 2,008 nationally representative consumers responding from across the UK.