Imagine: in a few years, consumers will be talking to robots on a regular basis. From answering customer support questions to facilitating voice-based searches, artificial intelligence will become the new norm.
Artificial intelligence has already become the new norm. Just take a look at today’s popular consumer devices—Siri, Alexa, and even Google’s new AI assistant with a voice that is almost indistinguishable from a human’s on the phone. In one study of 600 executives in 18 countries, from MIT Technology Review and Genesys, 90% of respondents said that their firms are using AI to improve customer experiences. And 70% of respondents within this group have seen an increase in revenue.
What does this technical shift mean for customers? How are everyday people responding to robots managing their interactions with businesses?
As it turns out, perspectives are divided
One customer experience consultancy, Elicit, conducted a nationally representive study to analyze consumer sentiment around artificial intelligence. Among survey respondents, 58% land somewhere in between thinking that AI is something good or is a threat. One third of consumers are concerned that AI won’t stay limited to mundane tasks and will become smarter than humans.
Understandably, consumers are also worried about companies taking their AI investments too far.
In addition to studying AI, it’s important for companies to understand consumer sentiment. Why is revenue increasing, for instance? Are consumers finding information that they need faster?
By answering these questions, companies can figure out what to automate and what to keep human.
Consumers want humanity
Global consultancy CapGemini surveyed 10,000 consumers in 10 countries across Europe, Asia, and Australia, with the majority of respondents in the United States. The study compared attitudes among age groups. It turns out, younger generations are just as likely as baby boomers to prefer a mix of human and robot interactions.
In other words, humans want to do business with fellow humans—as AI picks up, companies will want to give careful thought to the roles and tasks that become automated.
What is the right mix of automation and human empathy? This question will orient the next generation of research in AI—and 2019 will be an important year for understanding how AI relates to our humanity.