Post-Terminator AI: Consumers, Execs Warm Up to Digital Assistants


(Image: Michal Bednarek/Shutterstock)

(Image: Michal Bednarek/Shutterstock)

Consumer impressions of artificial intelligence used to be influenced mostly by science fiction. Consider HAL in 2001 Space Odyssey, or the villains in the Terminator series of films, or the computers in The Matrix.

It's only more recently that consumers have found themselves knowingly interacting with AI implementations in the real world in the form of digital assistants such as Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, or Google Now or Google Assistant.

That experience has influenced the cultural view of what these technologies can do for us. A newer film depicting a human/AI relationship is Her. In this film the human falls in love with his digital assistant.

That's a huge shift in how we humans view artificial intelligence. We used to be afraid of it. Now we see it as a helper in our lives or even as a friend.

A new report from PwC looks at this relationship between humanity and the AI we are creating and how cultural attitudes have shifted. The report examines consumer attitudes towards AI, and how people feel about having their teachers, cab drivers, attorneys, and doctors, and others replaced by or augmented by artificial intelligence.

This report also looks at how business leaders are viewing AI. For instance, over 70 percent of executives are using digital assistants and about a third of them say that using these assistants frees up time that they can now focus on deep thinking of their own.

It's not just more deep thinking that is being done. These experiences are also informing executive opinion about AI's potential in the rest of the business, too.

AllAnalytics is excited to welcome Anand Rao, Partner at PwC Analytics, Innovation Lead, and Artificial Intelligence expert, to present the June 13 AllAnalytics Academy session: AI Through the Consumer's Eyes. Rao will take us through PwC's research and talk to us about what AI means to the consumer and how that will impact every business going forward.

You'll learn about how consumers feel about AI today, how they expect that to change in the next five years, and what business opportunities there are for organizations in the shifting consumer attitudes towards AI.

Join us at 2 pm ET/11 am PT on Tuesday, June 13 for this important session. Register now.

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps, Informationweek

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, predictive analytics, and big data for smarter business and a better world. In her spare time she enjoys playing Minecraft and other video games with her sons. She's also a student and performer of improvisational comedy. Follow her on Twitter: @jessicadavis.

Innovation & Change: Top US Tech Leaders Headline Analytics Event

Former US CTO Megan Smith former US Chief Data scientist DJ Patil, and Competing on Analytics author Tom Davenport are among the headliners as SAS Analytics Experience heads to Washington DC.

Competing on Analytics: 2017

Business has changed since Tom Davenport's Competing on Analytics was first published in 2007. As a new updated edition of the book becomes available, Davenport is getting ready address the audience at SAS Analytics Experience. And he took the time out for an interview with AllAnalytics, too, to talk about what's changed and what's next.


Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/21/2017 8:59:32 AM
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@Ariella, It's interesting that you're seeing young people leaving voice mail messages.  I find that fewer people are leaving personal voice mails no matter what the age.  I typically miss a call then get a text with the reason they were calling unless it's business related. I wouldn't mind typing less but I can't imagine a room full of people dictating messages their phones.  The DMV waiting area will be a much different place if people stop texting and start doing everything via voice commands. 

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/21/2017 8:56:56 AM
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Not much of a step if you keep everything you're doing in a calendar that Google has access to.  I don't put my personal life on a digital calendar so I'd still be in the same boat unless google starts reading my texts and listening in on all my conversations.   Then I might need a bot to find me a nice quiet corner where I can read without the electric eyes watching.

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/20/2017 2:24:26 PM
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@SaneiT - Google announced last month that Google Assistant was being updated to recognize different voices within the family. As I recall, the demonstartion showed "Pull up my calendar" and then it knew who's calendar to pull up and display on the TV.

Not much of a step from here to knowing where you'll be so "Do I need an umbrella today?" gets an answer that considers where'll you'll be.

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/20/2017 8:35:35 AM
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@SaneIT I get that, and I'm more used to typing in my query than talking to a computer. But I think that the next generation is growing used to the convenience of hands-free activation that can even work at some distance. I notice that teens are now leaving voice messages on the phone rather than typing out texts all the time, which seems to indicate to me a shift toward using voice more and typing less. 

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/20/2017 8:07:26 AM
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@Lyndon_Henry,  I think that VR will be a more powerful tool for us than AI bots.  I've seen a handful of VR/AR meeting places that could greatly change education, business travel and communication in general.  I prefer human collaboration over one human trying to dig information out of many machines so I see VR/AR meeting spaces where people are more than voices across a phone or little squares on my monitor during a video conference.  I feel that VR/AR will give us more natural interactions with distant humans.  I'm not totally against AI and AI bots but I don't think they are the answer to every problem as they are being presented right now. 

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/20/2017 8:02:11 AM
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@Ariella, This is why I'm calling AI bots an immature technology.  Yes they can fetch information if guided sufficiently but the intelligence is still lacking.  In most instances I can still type faster and have a search engine return the same information faster than waking up a product like Siri or Cortana, having it do the search then read the answer back to me.  In my mind I think of Isaac Asimov's The Last Question, even the most powerful computers fall silent and process data before giving an answer, even if it is "insufficient data".  That silence/processing/dead air is tough to overcome but also very awkward if you're standing there waiting for an answer.

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/16/2017 10:44:28 PM
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My kids still watch a show on PBS called Wild Kratts. One of the bad guys in the show is a crazy, mean technologist who builds devices using enslaved wild animals. Not the point. What he does have are bots who fly around and do his dirty deeds. Funniest part --- and even my 2 year old can get the jokes --- is that the bots have current level AI capabilities. And whatever the bad guy orders them to do, they do so literally that it usually ends up with him getting a door slammed on his foot, or a robot sitting in his lap crushing him, or some other hilarious end result.

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/16/2017 1:24:23 PM
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Lyndon thanks for the tip I will have to try it. I would love anything that increases accuracy and revision!

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/16/2017 10:33:07 AM
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Now that I think about it, I only use my voice command stuff to ask what an elementary school student might ask, like what's the weather, how far to New York. who is Johnny Carson, etc. Maybe AI folks will need to watch what qustions are being asked to see how smart AI really is. Once it gets to the place where the average user is asking really complex questions and getting accurate answers we'll be in a really useful place with AI.

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/16/2017 9:38:36 AM
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..

Mayam writes

SANE I constantly play with voice dictation while it is getting better it is still not as fast as my bad typing! It is definitely not as accurate

I use Dragon for a lot of my longer narrative writing, almost always handwritten (remember that?) ... Most of the time Dragon does a fairly accurate job of transcription, but this technology has quite a way to go to rival the capability of a competent human transcriber. Nevertheless, it's extremely useful and I look forward to improvements in VR technology. I do think it will take AI developers quite a while to advance VR to even very minimal levels of processing the daunting range of nuances of human speech.

 

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