August 10, 2018updated 04 Jan 2019 4:49pm

“Electronics of the future” survey reveals concerns about being replaced by robots

By Ellen Daniel

Through the rise of artificial intelligence and the internet of things, robots are undoubtedly becoming an accepted part of everyday life. However, uncertainty remains over how people will react to working and living more closely with machines.

The Electronica Trend Index 2018 aims to address this, and surveyed 7,000 consumers from the USA, Asia and Europe to understand their thoughts on “electronics of the future”, including AI and its interaction with humans.

Although 81% of consumers all around the world would like “electronic devices of the future” to make their lives easier, they as not yet willing to wholly accept the technology.

71% of those surveyed believe that electronic devices should only assist humans, and believe that AI should not replace human thought processes, with 71% sharing this view.

However, despite media reports of AI causing job loss, the number of people concerned about this is decreasing in some parts of the world. In Germany, 82% of respondents shared this view in 2016, but this has decreased to 67% in the most recent survey.

Voice’s place welcomed in the electronics of the future

The survey also revealed the growing popularity and acceptance of voice-controlled assistants such as Siri and Amazon Alexa. Around 60% of consumers were in favour of electronics of the future being able to engage in dialogue with humans. However, 17% strongly object to the concept of talking electronics.

Furthermore, 72% of those surveyed were on board with robots using artificial intelligence to learn autonomously and respond to new situations.

The uncanny valley theory, which suggests that humanoid objects that appear too similar to real people evoke feels of discomfort, rings true, with 72% in favour of robots with artificial intelligence remaining clearly recognisable as machines.

In terms of emotional interaction with robots, opinion is divided. When asked if robots should be able to recognise human emotion, In Japan and European countries, only around half of respondents are in favour; in the USA this figure is just under 60%, but China has the most positive response at 85%.

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