Survey: 79% of Americans Don’t Trust Businesses With AI

AI-powered platforms and features are being rolled out by businesses around the world. Can they be trusted?

Almost 8 in 10 Americans don’t trust businesses to use AI responsibly, survey finds.

With the rapid evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its subsequent integration into the tools and technology used in our daily personal and professional lives, some degree of skepticism is to be expected.

However, a recent study conducted by Bentley University and analytics and advisory company, Gallup, has some startling evidence that more than the majority of Americans are wary of the technology in spite of its ability to help with monotonous tasks.

AI and Trust in Businesses

The survey showed resounding evidence that while businesses big and small are rushing to implement AI, consumers don’t believe there are enough responsibility guardrails in place. The majority (79%) of respondents reported trusting businesses “not much” or “not at all” to adopt AI responsibly.

“Responsible use of software, in general, and AI/machine learning in particular, has a lot to do with risk and who experiences it. If the customers of products and services experience risk in their use, the company should bear some responsibility.” – Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist for Google

Additionally, a mere one in 10 Americans who responded to the survey believed that AI does more good than harm. Leaving the remaining 90% split between an equal amount of harm and good (50%) and more harm than good (40%).

The Bentley-Gallup Business in Society Report is based on a web survey with 5,458 U.S. adults carried out in May this year, using the probability-based Gallup Panel. Among a range of workplace topics, the respondents were asked about their feelings on AI, both in the workplace and as consumers.

AI Eliminating Jobs

Three quarters of Americans believe that Artificial Intelligence will reduce the number of jobs on the market over the next decade. This figure rose to 80% for those who do not have a bachelor’s degree, are long-term unemployed, or over the age of 60.

Those least concerned about AI eliminating jobs were 18-29 year-olds, the future of the US workforce. Of whom, 66% believed it to be true, 26% percent thought there would be no change in job levels, and 9% — the highest of all demographics — believed there would actually be more jobs.

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“We’re going to see tremendous occupational shifts. Some jobs will climb while others decline. So how do we enable and support workers as they transition from occupation to occupation? We don’t do that very well. I worry about the skill shifts. Skill requirements are going to be substantial and how do we get there quickly enough?” – James Manyika, chairman and director, McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)

Tasks We Trust AI to Outperform Humans

While many are fearful of AI taking over jobs, we can’t deny it is better than humans at certain tasks.

This survey question doesn’t speak to the actual ability of AI-bots to do a task but rather the human perception of their ability to do a task. It highlights the industries in which people are most skeptical about AI integration and those which are more acceptable.

The tasks which came out more favorable in relation to AI with respondents were customizing the content they see online (68%), recommending products or services (65%), and assisting students with their homework (60%).

The tasks that people thought would perform worse than a human were recommending medical advice (62%), driving cars (68%) and recommending the employees a company should hire (69%).

However, 18-29 year-olds answered more optimistically overall compared to older demographics, demonstrating a shift in public perception is likely on the horizon.

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Written by:
Abby Ward is a contributor at and freelance search engine marketing (SEM) specialist. Since graduating from Kingston University London in 2015 with Bachelor's degree in Journalism with French, she has worked in many areas of digital marketing including website management, SEO, and paid media. Her specialist topics span her professional and personal interests in search social media, ad-tech, education, food & beverage, hospitality, and business.
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