Majority of students optimistic about AI’s future: OpenText

The 2017 Student Leadership Conference is happening this week (September 26-30) in Waterloo, bringing together student leaders from across the country for sessions on leadership, entrepreneurship and community development. During Tuesday’s opening ceremonies, Adam Howatson, CMO at OpenText, shared his career journey, and discuss artificial intelligence based on the results of a survey OpenText conducted on AI with the students at the conference.

The results show some of Canada’s most passionate student leaders have mixed feelings on AI and how it will impact their lives. Seventy per cent of students were highly or slightly optimistic about the role that AI could play in the world, but 49 per cent of the students surveyed were concerned that their future career might one day be automated or replaced by robots.

In a future where automation will likely play a much more prevalent role in daily work, students attending the conference are prepared. Forty-two per cent said they were taking concerns about automation and robotics into account when selecting an educational path. Similarly, 68 per cent said there were career paths and fields they would avoid because they are likely to be automated in the future.

While students may be avoiding certain career tracks, they do see value in AI and robotics, particularly in improving healthcare and curing disease, where 81 per cent felt it was a problem AI should address. Other areas where they saw benefit was in automating everyday tasks like cooking and cleaning (53 per cent) and improving the automotive industry (38 per cent).

A total of 327 students attending the conference answered the questions between September 8 and 18, 2017.

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