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Majority of Brits would use artificial intelligence, survey finds

The level of trust for using artificial intelligence for customer services has increased among British people, although they may have little choice as businesses flock towards the technology

Recent research suggests that most consumers are getting over their fears of using artificial intelligence (AI) for services, including banking transactions.

The latest survey of 6,000 people from six countries by Pegasystems found that 60% of UK people would use more AI if it saved them time and money.

The survey found that British people are most comfortable with using AI to personalise their online retail presence, followed by their doctor using AI to make better diagnoses, and using AI for financial services.

British consumers are least comfortable with the government using AI to improve e-services, according to the study.

However, British people are still cautious about the benefits of AI in comparison with other countries. In the UK, 29% of people think AI has the potential to improve customer services, compared with 44% in France and 42% in the Netherlands. Only 20% of Brits think the level of service from AI will be the same or better than service from a human.

Rob Walker, vice-president of decisioning and analytics at Pegasystems, said: “This research tells us that although consumers are ready to embrace AI if they can see tangible outcomes and benefits, many of their existing perceptions and experiences of customer service AI are fragmented.

“This can result in disconnected experiences. Organisations must put the onus on technology that unifies how AI is run – for example, an always-on central ‘brain’ that functions across different lines of business, channels, systems and data.

“This ensures customers get consistent treatment and the best treatment from AI-powered functions, no matter how they interact with your organisation,” he said.

Increase in interest for AI technology

There have been many reports on AI of late as software makers and businesses begin to invest in AI technologies.

For example, according to a recent survey of 11,362 people from nine countries, carried out by YouGov for Konica Minolta, more than a quarter of workers think 20% of their daily tasks could be automated through AI and robots, and 10% believe up to 60% of their role could be taken over.

The research even found that 45% of people globally expect that AI technology will one day be able to carry out intangible, even creative tasks.

IT services giant Accenture carried out a survey of 32,715 people – 3,007 of them British – and found that more than two-thirds (68%) of UK consumers would use software robots for banking services, with a quarter attracted to the impartiality of advice given by robots.

As a result of findings such as these, businesses are confident that AI is the way forward for customer services, and consumers might soon have little say in the matter. In a similar way to when companies moved their customer services to low-cost countries such as India despite customer concerns, AI looks set to become the standard in the future.

Read more about artificial intelligence in the enterprise sector

The London Borough of Enfield is using a software robot to provide customer services so it can redirect resources. The council is using the AI platform from IPSoft, which was launched in 2014.

Transport for London (TfL) is also harnessing the technology. It has developed an intelligent agent-based chatbot on Facebook’s AI application programming interface (API). The social media TravelBot is digital travel assistant that can be accessed through Facebook’s Messenger app. It uses artificial intelligence to provide live bus arrival information, tube and rail service updates and maps.

In financial services, digital bank Atom Bank is offering customer support through machine learning software on its mobile app. The bank, which gained its licence last year, delivers its products and services through an app for mobile devices and desktop computers.

It is integrating A into its mobile app, which it said will provide near-human customer care. The machine learning technology from WDS – part of Xerox – will use analytics to capture the context of each customer inquiry and respond appropriately. It will also learn from experience.

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