Americans: Optimistic on AI, but still a bit nervous

What’s your favorite AI depiction from the movies? 

We put that question to 1520 people recently and it appears that movie goers like to be a bit frightened by their AI, choosing the Terminator as their top AI depiction, followed by Minority Report. 

Poll Results


In both fictional worlds AI was created to help man but ended up becoming something distorted and evil. That fear seems to cloud how people view AI today. 

It turns out that when Gallup and Northeastern University surveyed more than 3000 adults across the US this past fall, they found similar results. According to their research, people feel that AI has a positive impact on their own lives and will have a positive impact on the future. In all, 79% agreed that AI had a “mostly positive” or “very positive” effect on them personally. Also, 76% agreed that AI will significantly change how we live within the next decade.  

But this hopeful look is tinged by a bit of fear. Just as in the Terminator, in which AI can both protect and destroy, college aged people don’t feel prepared for this future. Only 22% of those who completed college said that they feel aptly educated for this new reality and an even smaller number feel confident they can get the education they need. 

When it comes to what change means, the answers start to conflict. A majority, 73%, think AI will eliminate jobs but 77% aren’t really concerned that their job will be the next one to go.  

Despite this overall optimism at the hope of AI, it seems that some underlying fear of technology does creep in. When asked about one of the key physical manifestations of AI, self-driving cars, 42% would find themselves “extremely uncomfortable” turning over control to a computer while 62% are uncomfortable sharing the road with self-driving trucks. 

But what about places in which AI is already at work helping humans do their jobs? For that we need to look no further than our friends at Slack. Given that slack has 6 million daily active users and a large majority of the Fortune 100 companies on this platform, it has a lot of data from which to pull.  

It’s here that AI starts to work alongside the people, with it playing a role as “Chief of Staff” for every person. By learning a user’s interests, habits and priorities, AI can feed the right information to the user at the right time. What’s more, machine learning can play a key role in getting help from the right person. By understanding who within an organization has the right knowledge, questions can be funneled to the right person rather than just being asked in an open channel. This cuts down on the “noise” that often accompanies an open line of communications.  

This is also what Attivio’s cognitivie search and insights platform brings to our Fortune 1000 customers. By integrating all sources of information, both structured and unstructured, and using AI-driven machine learning, we help enterprise knowledge workers find the answers they need in a fraction of the time, so they can be more productive, provide better customer service, and help their companies save millions of dollars.  

As consumers work through their ambiguous feelings about the role of AI in their life, we’ll continue to see representations on the big screen. Other favorites from our poll included a third place that was split between men and women. Women chose A.I. Artificial Intelligence, with the Pinocchio character in search of a parent, while men chose Ex Machina, which featured a sexualized female android. And while the primary Oscar categories this year did not include any nominees for films involving AI, this year’s Blade Runner 2049 walked away with the Oscar for best cinematography and best visual effects, and was also our audience’s 4th favorite representation of AI in film. 

To learn more about how AI can help transform your business, contact us for a demo.  

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Insight Engines 2019
Attivio was recognized for our completeness in vision and ability to execute.