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Artificial Intelligence

Improving public awareness of AI’s practical benefits

By Fountech Ventures
August 13, 2019

Fountech is seeing first hand just how AI toolsets such as machine learning (ML), big data and natural language processing are transforming different sectors of the economy. As a result, much like the dot com boom, private investors are actively on the lookout for AI companies with immense scale-up potential.

Responding to this demand, Fountech recently launched a €2 million investment round for our flagship education project – Soffos – which applies AI toolsets to deliver hyper-personalised lessons.

While business professionals and investors are clearly recognising the potential of AI, to what extent do consumers appreciate and understand this new generation of technologies?

To answer this question, Fountech surveyed a nationally-representative sample of more than 2,000 UK adults, asking them about their sentiments towards AI and the impact they think it will have on society. The results from the survey were timely and have been featured in nearly 20 press titles since their release, including City AM, Artificial Intelligence News, and Prolific London.

So, what did we find?

The Fountech research revealed that two thirds (67%) of people are worried AI will result in jobs being lost to machines. It also showed the majority of Britons (58%) think AI tools that recommend products to customers – such as the software used byAmazon and Netflix – are creepy. As a result, 59% have become more nervous about the way their personal data is collected and used since the rise of AI.

While the UK public is wary of the impact AI could have on their jobs and personal data, there is still an underlying belief that AI will have a positive impact on society in the long-term. Three fifths (62%) of people surveyed believe AI will be a force for good.

Yet perhaps most interesting was the general lack of awareness people have when it comes to AI and its widespread uses. For instance, 37% of UK adults said they do not fully understand what the term “artificial intelligence” means. Furthermore, only 30% of respondents claim to regularly use technologies that are powered by AI. This is despite the fact that popular tools such as Google’s search engine, Siri, most major email providers and Facebook – as well as the aforementioned Amazon andNetflix platforms – all use AI.

Fountech’s research has revealed a knowledge gap when it comes to properly understanding both AI’s actual application in society at present, and its long-term potential. Education and knowledge-sharing initiatives between the private and public sectors are clearly warranted so that the general public can practically understand this exciting new technology.

This is something Fountech is constantly thriving to achieve and is the reason why our CEO Nikolas Kairinos has appeared in nearly 100 publications in 2019 so far alone talking about all things AI.  

To keep up to date with Fountech’s news and company updates, not to mention a review of the key trends shaping the AI sector, be sure to subscribe to Fountech’s monthly newsletter.