Consumers see AI as solution to climate change, cybersecurity: survey

Consumers see AI as solution to climate change, cybersecurity: survey
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American consumers believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will provide solutions to complex societal problems such as climate change, according to a new survey. 

Sixty-three percent of U.S. consumers believe AI will help solve complex problems, and 59 percent say it will contribute to a more fulfilling life, according to a PwC survey released Tuesday.

Majorities of consumers believe AI will help tackle major issues like climate change, global health, economic growth and cancer. Nearly seven in 10 see it producing solutions for cybersecurity and privacy, and six in 10 say the same for personal financial security and fraud. Thirty-one percent also believe AI will help with gender equality issues.

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That doesn’t mean respondents don't have concerns about machine intelligence. Nearly a quarter of respondents said AI will deliver “serious, negative implications.”

Many also view AI as a potential job killer. Forty-six percent of consumers think developments in machine learning will hurt people by taking away jobs that otherwise would be occupied by humans, according to the survey.

The study also shows that, while many see AI as simplifying their lives by taking the place of tutors, travel agents, and office assistants over the next half-decade, majorities would still prefer a human to its digital replacement in some cases — such as preferring to receive medical input from a doctor rather than a digital kit. 

Companies are increasingly investing in AI research and development in an effort to develop new transformative technologies. The industry is projected to balloon to $70 billion by 2020, according to one estimate.