Artificial Intelligence: The truth behind the hype

August 3, 2018 | Singapore | Industry Insights

Artificial Intelligence is wreathed in hype, and communicators face a challenge when it comes to cutting through to the truth. FleishmanHillard TRUE Global Intelligence and Finer Weston Data Analysis speak to experts to build a picture of what is really going on. By Sophie Scott, Global Managing Director Technology, FleishmanHillard

Artificial Intelligence – what images enter your thoughts when you consider the term? For many it conjures up images of sci-fi villains, but it’s just as likely to get others dreaming of the new industrial revolution.

One thing is for sure, the topic is wreathed in hype and communicators face a challenge when it comes to cutting through to the truth.

FleishmanHillard TRUE Global Intelligence and Finer Weston Data Analysis have been on a mission to achieve this feat, speaking to experts from across the growing field to build a picture of what is really going on, as well as conducting research with consumers to see how opinions on the technology compare.

The report subsequently built from these insights carries a golden topline message – there is plenty of hype, and much more education is needed to reassure the public on AI’s future role in society.

For professionals focused on building and understanding of AI, this expert opinion helps to tune out some of the white noise created by the clamour of AI commentators, allowing focus to be fixed on the innovative, potentially lifesaving, benefits.

Education is an integral piece in this puzzle, with the report highlighting that 53% of global consumers believe society is not provided with enough AI education. Communicating the true progress of AI will go a great distance toward shifting the hype dial, and recalibrating society’s understanding of this technology – in turn helping to build trust.

There is good news: while an education drive is still very much needed, the battle to dispel AI fears is not an uphill one. This is because there is general positivity when it comes to AI’s potential, with the research finding that nearly half (49%) of consumers globally see AI as an exciting and exhilarating topic.

Consumers are open to learning more, with the majority (61%) expressing the view that key stakeholders in business, government and academia should take a collaborative approach to improving public understanding of AI.

The road to 2025 is set to be exciting for communicators, as experts foresee the way being paved with major AI opportunities. A principle example is healthcare. Experts including Jeroen Tas, Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer, Philips and Charlie Oliver, CEO Tech2025 and Mission AI, talk in the report of the potential of new capabilities like preventative, personalised healthcare programmes and targeted disease management – AI innovations that could improve and save human lives.

Smart cities and the farming industry are other areas that experts see AI having a big impact on, from enhanced crop yields to autonomous vehicle learning to stronger cybersecurity.

While gazing into the future captures the imagination and creates positive energy around AI, the most important message to convey is that AI is already playing a major part in our world. Putting this into perspective, a 51% majority of UK consumers reported encountering or using AI technology on at least a monthly basis.

Quietly AI has already permeated society, playing underlying roles in important areas like fraud detection or online customer support, smart home devices and smart recommendation services. The power in communicating this message is the proof that the arrival of AI is not a disruptive tidal wave about to hit, but a technology that is being thoughtfully and actively interwoven into existing services to enhance and modernise them.

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