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Insider UK
Insider UK
Peter A Walker

Despite the hype, Scots are unconvinced of AI’s benefits

While some Scots would use artificial intelligence (AI) to support everyday tasks, 82% have concerns or challenges that prevent them from using it.

The KPMG survey found that one of the biggest barriers to AI adoption amongst Scottish consumers is that they prefer interacting with a human (47%).

Across the UK, more than half of the 55 to 64 and the over 65 age groups said they wouldn’t use AI because they prefer to interact with a human. However, this dropped to less than a third for consumers aged 18 to 24.

More than a third of the Scots (36%) surveyed said they have data privacy concerns which stop them from using AI. Among those, the 18 to 24 year-olds were the age group most concerned with data privacy, with 37% expressing fears.

While 18 to 24 year-olds, part of the Generation Z population, were more likely to be open to using AI, almost half (45%) reported cost as the biggest barrier for adoption, citing that AI-enabled technologies were too expensive.

Voice assistants was the most popular answer (47%) when Scots were asked which tasks and activities they’d be open to using AI for, with self-driving vehicles the least popular answer (23%).

Across the UK, 18 to 24 year-olds are most likely to use AI for tasks and activities such as facial recognition as a security key, chatbots for customer service and shopping, with only 7% saying they wouldn’t use AI for any tasks. Whereas the over 65s are more hesitant, with more than a third saying they wouldn’t use AI for any tasks.

Saving time was the most popular primary motivation chosen by Scots for why they’d use AI, with 37% of respondents choosing the answer.

Ian West, head of technology at KPMG UK, said: “AI is incredible technology with huge potential, but there is much for businesses to think about when it comes to consumers’ views of AI.

“There are several barriers to adoption that need to be addressed by tech companies and by businesses who are rolling out the technology.

“Businesses need to be clear about the benefits of the technology and how it is transforming the proposition available to consumers for it to become accepted.“

He suggested Scottish firms should look at why consumers prefer to interact with a human – is it because they can have a broader conversation; because they think there is less chance of error; or because they want to negotiate?

“Once they consider these possibilities, then it could become easier for them to shape the narrative around why they have chosen to use AI and the benefits compared to if it was a human,“ West added.

Only 14% of Scottish consumers surveyed said they thought that the development of AI and its applications will support jobs, with 38% believing it threatens them and 36% believing it will equally support and threaten jobs. 12% were unsure.

“There is a lot of concern around whether the increased use and development of AI will threaten jobs,“ West commented. “There are going to be certain jobs that are at higher risk of automation from AI but for the most part, businesses should be looking at how AI can create efficiencies to free up time for their staff to concentrate on their most important tasks, not how it can replace staff.“

Almost a third of Scots reported that they would use AI to save time, so if applied in a work context this would mean that their time would be freed up to spend on the most important elements of their jobs.

“The conversation should be about how AI can help us to do our jobs better and even help us do things we can’t currently do,“ West added. “If this is how the conversation is framed then AI should not threaten jobs but empower them.”

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