Public opinions towards artificial intelligence

These days, artificial intelligence (A.I.) is driving many of the gadgets that we use without thinking. Smartphones, smart thermostats and voice-activated virtual assistants are making use of machine learning to bring modern conveniences to our everyday lives. A very impressive progression for the future, but should we feel anxious about the change which A.I represents? Are these learning-capable machines doing too much of the thinking for us?

At Vox Pops, curiosity got the better of us, so we hit the streets of Epsom to discuss how the public is adapting to new technologies and their thoughts on A.I.

Many of the public seemed daunted at the idea of a robot which could act on conclusions derived through machine learning. A large number of respondents thought we may be in “dangerous waters” and that “it’s going too far”, with the ‘Terminator’ film on their minds. The development of artificial intelligence is a frightening concept.

“Artificial intelligence will take over anyway, whether we like it or not. Its just a matter of time”

Some respondents went as far as suggesting that it’s inevitable that machines will take over the world. Artificial intelligence has already embedded itself in commonplace household devices such as Apple’s Siri, Google’s Home and Amazon’s Alexa. Many of the older demographic interviewed by Vox Pops were worried about the implications this may have on the younger generation.

“For children its quite dangerous, they are not using the resources in their brain – it’s encouraging them to be a bit more lazy”

On the contrary, some respondents did acknowledge the positives A.I can bring to modern life. For example, that information can be accessed quicker, making learning easier. “Just ask Siri”.

One lady also argued that we should be developing computers because “they’re probably better at it than people”. Computer science is already being applied to increase efficiency in many industries, as one respondent was aware…

“One of our companies in Japan is already talking about going fully robotic and replacing the workforce. It’s cheaper labour, 24/7, no lunch breaks”

Another respondent pointed out the limitations of replacing human intelligence with machine learning. His company has been using an automated response system to give customers advice, but “it doesn’t take into account that person’s long-term plans, feelings about things, economical outlook, political bias”. Suggesting that although machines may be able to offer consistency regarding tedious or dangerous tasks; they are unable to be empathetic. On top of this, the idea of replacing a human workforce with machines inevitably causes concern for people losing their jobs.

“You don’t want to train them too quickly, otherwise people will be out of jobs”

The idea of people losing their jobs to machines was the biggest cause for concern amongst the participants we interviewed. Nonetheless, a few did think it was possible that a positive relationship with technology could develop, and that we should “just accept these things, don’t try and fight them. There’s other things to fight about.”

Interviewing the public to bring insight to life

Vox Pops videos like the one above are typically filmed intercept interviews used to bring a customer, brand message, insight or research data to life. Interviews with the public help develop customer understanding and present market research data in an engaging and memorable manner – helping employees visualize the end consumer. Vox Pops International combine market research and video production expertise to create high quality insight videos.

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