Webby Talks October 19, 2017

5 Takeaways on Automation & AI

The Webbys partnered with YouGov to find out how Americans are thinking about AI and automation. Here are some key takeaways from our upcoming trend report.

As an organization that has been honoring the best of the Internet for over two decades, The Webbys has a unique view into what’s happening online. That’s why every year we hit the road with our Webby Talks Tour—this year presented by WP Engine and YouGov, sharing insights into significant trends emerging across the scope of the Internet.

This year’s trend This Automated Life is an exciting look at how automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are changing every aspect of our lives: from how we interact with family and friends, to how we hire and form relationships, to how we create art and consume media, and well beyond.

To help develop this Talk, in addition to surveying thousands of pieces of work submitted to The Webbys, we also worked with our partner YouGov to survey over 3,000 U.S. adults aged 18+ on their views on automation and artificial intelligence. We’ll release a full trend report in November. In the meantime, read our press release on the survey, and check out 5 key takeaways below.

5 Takeaways on Automation & AI

The Webbys partnered with YouGov to find out how Americans are thinking about AI and automation. Here are some key takeaways from our upcoming trend report.

AI Is Everywhere

First, it’s clear from the data that most people are aware of the many ways we currently use automation and AI. 79% of U.S. adults indicated they had used some form of artificial intelligence in the last 12 months, and 65% acknowledged that automation has a significant impact on their daily lives.

Concerns About AI

But… people are worried about the consequences of machine learning both around the world and in their own personal lives: Nearly one third worry that automation will take their job, 45% cite AI and automation as a risk to their privacy, and 57% say they are concerned about the impact automation will have on the world economy in the next 10 years.

Trust Issues

Although AI technology is quickly evolving to become smarter and make ever more complex decisions, consumers still express a lot of discomfort with computers making decisions for them. In response to our survey, people said they trusted humans more than machines for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Making a medical diagnosis (86%)
  • Resolving a customer service issue (83%)
  • Managing a legal transaction like a will or a home purchase (80%)
  • Managing a retirement portfolio (72%)
  • Providing a restaurant recommendation (72%)
...Except Driving

There was one area, however, where the majority of respondents did trust an automated system more than a human: Giving driving directions (66%).

Looking Ahead: Big Expectations

And despite their lack of trust in AI and automation to handle most decisions, people also expect that AI will make more and more of those decisions in the future. When asked about the likelihood of automated devices handling a variety of tasks in the next 10 years, respondents expressed expectations for AI’s penetration into many areas, including:

  • Driving a car (80%)
  • Delivering a product to your doorstep (80%)
  • Selling a product to a customer in a store (72%)
  • Buying and selling stocks (69%)
  • Teaching a subject to students in a classroom (69%)
  • Diagnosing a serious medical condition (64%)
  • Hiring a candidate for a job (54%)

Want to hear more about our findings on AI and automation, and how you can make use of this new technology in your work? Check out our schedule and request a Webby Talk, presented in partnership with YouGov and WP Engine, at your office today! We’re currently traveling the globe, and slots are filling up quickly, so don’t delay.

Looking for more info? Stay tuned for our full trend report in November, and if you’d like to get more details on our survey data, please contact Casey Klurfeld at