Survey: Consumers receptive to AI, with limits

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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AI concept

A majority of consumers see promise for artificial intelligence (AI), but aren’t ready to remove humans from the retail experience.

According to a new consumer survey from digital transformation agency Blue Fountain Media, 60% of respondents think that while AI is a technology with a lot of promise, we have to be careful what it’s used for. Almost half (47%) of respondents don’t enjoy getting customer issues resolved without human interaction. 

The 47% figure comprises 41% of respondents who say they generally just like dealing with a real person when they have a customer service issue, and 6% who say AI has screwed up on them in the past and not dealt with their problem satisfactorily. 

However, 12% of respondents enjoy getting customer issues resolved without human interaction, citing “AI knows all the facts and policies better than many customer service reps I’ve dealt with.” Another 16% said getting customer issues resolved without human interaction is faster and less of a hassle dealing with an AI-powered chatbot or phone operator. One-quarter of respondents enjoy getting customer issues resolved without human interaction, but said there’s definitely more room for improvement.

Almost one-third (32%) of respondents’ biggest fear about AI is that it will take over, replace all jobs, and possibly one day, replace humans. In another statistic demonstrating concerns some consumers have over the potentially de-humanizing effect of AI, 27% of respondents fear that AI immersion into our daily lives will improve them, but also make them a lot less personal and intimate.

Other interesting responses include:

•    10% of respondents believe that the greatest promise for AI lies in retailers providing a more consistent and personalized experience.
•    8% don’t see AI having an impact on their personal life because they don’t trust AI to help at all.
•    4% see AI having its biggest impact on their personal life via shopping and customer service with personalized chatbots.

Using SurveyMonkey, Blue Fountain Media surveyed over 1,000 U.S. respondents ages 18-65.