As companies confront the next wave of the information age—the era of Artificial Intelligence (Al)—Weber Shandwick partnered with KRC Research to conduct Al-Ready or Not: Artificial Intelligence Here We Come!, a survey among consumers in five global markets and augmented with how well marketers are aligned with those perspectives. AI is undoubtedly transforming business. Our research finds that nearly seven in 10 CMOs report their company is doing or planning for business in the Al era, and 55 percent of CMOs expect Al to have a greater impact on marketing and communications than social media ever had.
Since there is so little publicly-available research on consumers’ take on AI at this point in time, Weber Shandwick wanted to arm CMOs and other communicators with early consumer insights so they have an edge on the future. We have summarized our learnings into eight revelations:
1. Consumers Hold Superficial AI Intelligence.Two-thirds of global consumers say they know a lot about AI (18%) or a little (48%). However, consumers most commonly associate AI with robots and few are able to name an AI brand leader.
2. AI Forecast Sunny. Media Shines a Bright Light. 80% of consumers say their overall impression comes from a mix of media. And consumers are optimistic about AI’s potential: They are six times more likely to see AI’s impact on society as positive than negative and seven times more likely to expect an positive impact than negative on their personal lives.
3. Consumers Put Their Money on Experts and Own Personal Touch. Consumers report that hands-on testing, technology experts and academics from the AI field will provide the most credible information about AI.
4. In AI They Trust…For Many Tasks. Consumers are most trusting of AI to offer reminders to take medicine and provide travel directions and entertainment. There are some tasks consumers do not believe should be turned over to AI, including flying airplanes, making medical diagnoses and childcare.
5. AI Consumer Benefits Plentiful, Keep Them Coming. Global consumers expect many benefits to come from AI. Completion of tasks that are too dangerous for people, easier access to information and time savings top the list.
6. Consumer Knowledge Breeds AI Optimism. The more consumers know about AI, the greater their positivity about AI’s impact on society and themselves personally.
7. AI Adoption Meets Trepidation. Despite an overall acceptance of AI, nearly two-thirds of global consumers register concern about AI, although mostly at a moderate level (49%). Their top concerns revolve around security and job loss.
8. Consumer AI Positivity Buster: Job Losses. The vast majority of consumers expect jobs to be lost (82%) rather than gained (18%) due to AI.
AI-Ready or Not also focuses on the AI Vanguard, those “in the know” consumers who are critical for hastening acceptance of the Al movement among the mainstream. The report concludes with a CMO’s guide to engaging in the AI era.