Majority of consumers believe some companies will take AI too far

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We all love convenience. However, giving your smartphone permission to autofill forms or asking your voice assistant to order you something comes at a price. The same goes for artificial intelligence (AI). While people may like the thought of a robot that is able to do chores around the house, they are also thinking about the risks of such a convenience, according to a report by consulting firm Elicit.

Titled, “Artificial Intelligence and the Very Real, Real-World Anxiety It Causes,” the report dives into consumer attitudes about AI. It presents a series of scenarios and asks respondents how beneficial they would find AI in that particular situation, with choices ranging from “this is a benefit,” to “I’m nervous.” What it found was that as AI increases its independence, general feelings of nervousness increase.

It also asked them if they think companies go too far with AI or if they believe it’s okay for companies to use AI as long as they are making a task easier. “The conveniences and enhanced experiences delivered by AI are unlimited, and most people at an intellectual level understand that and welcome it. The anxiety and unease is created when AI begins to make decisions on its own without human input. Companies can leverage this insight to address some of those barriers and make these advances more palatable to consumers,” says Lisa Brink, senior director of strategy at Elicit.

Here are some key findings from the report:
Respondents’ general level of comfort with AI is divided. A majority (58%) land somewhere between feeling that AI has the ability to serve purposes that are good and feeling that it is a threat to humanity.
One third of consumers worry that AI won’t stay focused on mundane tasks and leave the real thinking to humans. Just under half of consumers (43%) state that we’re not too far out before AI becomes a concern in our society.
Consumers have a healthy skepticism about what companies will do with AI. A majority of Americans (seven out of 10) think some companies will go too far with AI, and another six out of 10 are concerned with how companies will use AI and the information they have to engage with them.