Accenture Surprised by Users' Comfort Level With AI

Entertainment consulting firm Accenture has been conducting its digital consumers survey for about a decade, but its 2017 edition was the first to include questions around artificial intelligence and technology. And the results were surprising to the company.

“There’s pretty intense interest in AI this year, and a year ago there wasn’t anyone talking about it,” said Charles Hartley, Accenture’s global media and analyst relations manager for communications, media and high-tech businesses. “Consumers aren’t intimidated by it at all, apparently. It’s a sobering message to human beings.”

The survey, which interviewed just under 26,000 consumers across 26 countries, found that 62% of people are comfortable with AI apps — like Amazon’s Alexa — responding to voice queries, even though only 4% of people actually eda standalone, digital, voice-enabled device (like the Amazon Echo or Google Home) at the end of 2016.

Nearly 90% of respondents said AI simply makes it easier to do things, and a third said they’re interested in using voice-enabled digital assistants available in smartphones.