The UK’s potential to harness the benefits of AI in crucial sectors such as healthcare, food safety, and sustainability is under threat due to a significant “confidence gap” among the public.
According to a study conducted by BSI, 54 percent of UK respondents expressed excitement about AI’s potential to revolutionise medical diagnoses and 43 percent welcomed AI’s role in reducing food waste. However, there is a prevailing lack of trust.
This scepticism could hinder the integration of AI technologies in the NHS, which is currently grappling with challenges like the COVID-19 backlog and an ageing population. Almost half of Britons (49%) support the use of AI to alleviate pressure on the healthcare system and reduce waiting times. However, only 20 percent have more confidence in AI than humans in detecting food contamination issues.
The study also highlighted a pressing need for education, as 65 percent of respondents felt patients should be informed about the use of AI tools in diagnosis or treatment. 37 percent of respondents expect to use AI regularly in medical settings by 2030.
Craig Civil, Director of Data Science and AI at BSI, said:
“The magnitude of ways AI can shape the UK’s future means we are seeing some degree of hesitation of the unknown. This can be addressed by developing greater understanding and recognition that human involvement will always be needed if we are to make the best use of this technology, and by ensuring we have frameworks that are in place to govern its use and build trust.
Now is the moment for the UK to collaborate to balance the great power of this tool with the realities of actually using it in a credible, authentic, well-executed, and well-governed way.
Closing the confidence gap and building the appropriate checks and balances can enable us to make not just good but great use of AI in every area of life and society.”
60 percent believed consumers needed protections regarding AI technologies. The study also revealed that 61 percent of Britons are calling for international guidelines to ensure the safe use of AI. This demand reflects a global sentiment, with 50 percent of respondents highlighting the need for ethical safeguards on patient data use.
Harold Pradal, Chief Commercial Officer at BSI, commented:
“AI is a transformational technology. For it to be a powerful force for good, trust needs to be the critical factor. There is a clear opportunity to harness AI to drive societal impact, change lives, and accelerate progress towards a better future and a sustainable world.
Closing the AI confidence gap is the first necessary step, it has to be delivered through education to help realise AI’s benefits and shape Society 5.0 in a positive way.”
The study’s findings are a call to action for the UK, urging collaboration and the establishment of frameworks to govern AI’s use.
The UK Government, recognising the importance of safe AI implementation, is set to host a global AI Safety Summit at the historic Bletchley Park on 1-2 November 2023. BSI is an official partner for the much-anticipated event.
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