UK public wary of AI yet open to its potential in healthcare and manufacturing
May 17th, 2024, Hoang Nguyen

UK public wary of AI yet open to its potential in healthcare and manufacturing

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming our world, quietly seeping into everything from the way we shop to how diseases are diagnosed. A recent YouGov survey of over 2,000 UK adults delves into public perception of this powerful technology, revealing a mix of optimism and apprehension.

Brits are divided on AI’s impact

The survey reveals a divided public. A fifth (21%) of respondents believe AI is a force for good, while 32% see it as a negative influence. A significant portion of the survey participants (37%) expressed no strong opinion on AI, and an additional 10% remained unsure of its overall impact.

Age plays a role in these views. Younger adults (under 35) are considerably more optimistic, with 33% viewing AI positively compared to only 14% of those over 55.

Where consumers see the most potential and concern for the use of AI

The survey also explores public awareness of AI implementation across 14 areas of business. IT and telecommunications (55%), media and marketing (50%), and healthcare (50%) are the top three industries Britons recognize as currently utilizing AI, while legal services (22%), real estate (22%), agriculture (19%) and construction (18%) rank lowest.

We also asked consumers about whether they think the use of AI technologies in each of these industries would have a positive or negative effect on the industry overall. Healthcare, IT and telecoms, and manufacturing emerge as the sectors people view as most likely to benefit from AI, receiving a positive “net score.” This means more respondents saw AI as a positive force in these sectors.

On the other hand, the legal and real estate sectors stand alone with negative net scores, suggesting a public concern about AI integration in these areas.

It’s worth noting the generational divide resurfaces here. While under-35s see potential benefits for AI across all industries, their views on AI’s use in healthcare largely align with other age groups.

YouGov’s research highlights the complex public relationship with AI in the UK. While some have misgivings about an AI-dominated future, others see it as a tool for progress. The findings also underscore public uncertainty surrounding AI. Significant portions of the public remain unsure of AI’s impact across businesses so open communication, transparency, and safeguards can help to address public anxieties while ensuring AI can be embraced as a force for good.

Learn more about how Brits view AI's potential impact on specific industries.Get in touch with a researcher today