Canadians still weighing the benefits of AI: OpenText

Canadians are at the forefront of AI research and development, with cities such as Toronto and Montreal positioned as destinations for global leaders and innovators, but what do Canadians really think about AI? As Canadian government and organizations make investments in AI, citizens are forming opinions about how artificial intelligence and machine learning technology will affect their lives at work and at home.

While the technology offers many promising benefits, allowing for faster, more precise decision making (for example in healthcare), the results of a new survey from OpenText show Canadians still value the input of real people.

Some of this year’s major findings include:

  • The majority of Canadians (70 per cent) are not worried about being replaced by a robot at their job, and 45 per cent think their job could never be taken over by a robot.
  • Only 24 per cent of Canadians would feel comfortable working alongside a robot.
  • Canadians see more accurate diagnoses the biggest benefits of AI in healthcare (26 per cent), followed closely by a quicker diagnosis (21 per cent).
  • One-fifth of Canadians (20 per cent) see not taking time off work to visit a doctor as the biggest benefit to introducing AI in healthcare.
  • Almost half (48 per cent) of Canadians think driverless cars make the road safer, but Canadians are not completely sold on autonomous vehicles, half (50 per cent) would not consider buying or even renting one if priced similarly to a “normal” car.
  • Of the Canadians who feel the roads would be safer with autonomous cars, 31 per cent believed it was because they automatically obey all traffic laws, 10 per cent said they would only make highways safer, 7 per cent said it would be safer but only in towns and cities.
  • Despite all the hype around AI technologies, only 23 per cent of Canadians surveyed are aware of having interacted with AI technology in the last 12 months, 37 per cent didn’t know if they had.
  • Canadians are wary of AI’s ability to make better decisions than elected representatives if used in government, 33 per cent say the technology would not make better decisions because it can’t assess cultural aspects.
  • However, Canadians believe they will see AI technology in government soon (21 per cent say in the next 1-2 years), and they see the biggest potential benefits as reducing wait times for government services (23 per cent) followed by reducing errors (14 per cent).

The complete results of the OpenText 2018 AI survey for Canada can be found here.

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