Steve BrockNovember 01, 2021

The State of AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a fascinating subject, and many of us follow the latest news and associated technologies daily.  But what is the current view of the overall population when it comes to AI?  Avaya and Ipsos recently researched to answer this question – and we have now released the “State of AI” report as part of the Avaya Experience Builders™ research library.  The US-based research focused on AI awareness and attitudes, AI usage, and Business AI usage.

AI is changing the world as we know it --- it’s being used to assist with everything from managing traffic to writing song lyrics to designing clothing.   And this new research shows that AI is gaining significant traction in terms of awareness and trust.       

Hearing this is music to our ears!  Here are a few takeaways from this research – and the team thought it would be fun to align each one with a popular musical phrase:   

  1. “The West is the Best”

First question: What is the general awareness of “Artificial Intelligence”?  Beyond the walls of the technology companies, what does the general population think about AI?  It turns out that most everyone (93%) is aware of the term.  The Highest awareness is among younger ages, males, higher household income, and people living in the western US. 

I found the fact that the awareness in the West is significantly higher than in the East to be interesting.  However, this wasn’t a surprise to the Ipsos team.  They advised of the fact that AI is largely associated with technology and California has in recent history been the center of high tech, while the East has primarily been associated with finance. 

For about half of the population (48%) --  AI is now part of their daily life! This also corresponds inversely with age – with the highest usage among younger ages.  Additionally, most people have now come to perceive AI to be reliable (65%) and trustworthy (57%).

  1. “Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make”

Turning to a darker area, it is clear that many people also feel that AI can be abused (71%) and over half believe that a government could use AI to control its citizens.  Only 36% say they “feel safe” when interacting with AI technology. 

Tied to this, only 1 in 3 feel there are sufficient regulations in place around the use of AI.

Regardless, optimism runs high that AI will have a positive contribution and impact on our future (60%).

  1. “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”

Over half (56%) believe that AI influences the media that they see.  This has wide ramifications from elections to medical decisions to product and service promotion. 

Despite this, only 33% say that AI influences the products or services they buy – so people still feel they have the agency to make decisions and choices regardless of the media they consume. 

  1. “Yoshimi, Don’t Let the Robots Eat Me”

What is the current experience of using AI to interact with a business?   Less than half the population says they have used AI to communicate with a business.  Of those, about half had their issues resolved.

When asked about their last interaction with a chatbot that used AI, the result was split in terms of whether it was better than dealing with a human. 

The majority of the problem that people have with AI is that AI does not always understand their responses and questions.  Factors that make the interaction better include (1) quick response, (2) Easy / convenient, and (3) Clear / to the point response. 

Overall, based on their last interaction with a business that used AI, only 1-in-3 would recommend that business to others.  So we all have work to do to make the AI communications experience better. 

  1. “Who Are You?  (Ooo Ooo, Ooo Ooo)”

Another question we had was “How do you know if you are using a chatbot?”  The highest indicator is automated / repetitive / generic responses (28%).  Also, the voice/tone of the speaker was a large factor (14%). 

Another interesting insight is that almost 9 out of 10 consumers say they expect businesses to disclose when they are interacting with AI technology.

  1. “Tell Them That it’s Human Nature”

One area where the research is very clear.  People want an alternative option to AI as they interact with businesses when needed.   89% of consumers expect businesses to provide access to a live person as an alternative to AI.  

There are also areas in which people believe AI can do a better job than humans and vice versa.  The common view is that AI does best in complex situations that requires mathematical calculations or algorithms.  And humans do best in situations requiring understanding and empathy.  

These are just a few of the many insights obtained from the Avaya / Ipsos research.  I highly recommend downloading the full report

In addition, you can watch this webinar in which I discuss the research findings with Ipsos Mario Caceres.

Avaya is also working to highlight pioneers in AI and bring their insights directly to you.  Take a look at the latest AI Pioneers video

Get more information on Avaya Experience Builders™

If you’re a CIO, decision-maker, IT manager, or involved in customer or constituent communications and experience, consider registering for Avaya ENGAGE 2021, our comprehensive event on the future of communications and its impact on digital transformation. With four days of workshops, speakers, networking, and experts, ENGAGE is an invaluable opportunity for communications professionals of all levels and industries. The conference will be held at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida from December 12-15.

The State of AI

Steve Brock

Steve has broad industry experience that includes the design, engineering and global deployment of innovative communications solutions. Steve has worked with customers all over the world to solve complex consumer and business communication problems. You can follow Steve at @SteveBrockRTP.

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