Most People Believe Machine Intelligence Will Change the World Within 5 Years

October 2, 2017

Marketers have their own ideas about the emerging technologies that will transform their customers’ experiences, but what about the broader public and how humans experience the world? As it happens, machine learning is the technology that they too believe has the greatest likelihood to change the world, according to research from Ipsos.

More than three-quarters (77%) of American adults surveyed for the report believe that machine intelligence will change the way in which humans experience the world.

Interestingly enough, autonomous vehicles (75%) came a close second, ahead of smart cyber (74%), universal connectivity (73%), augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR; 68%), lasers (67%) and robots in combat (63%).

As for the technologies that will most benefit how the government serves its citizens, smart cyber emerged as the top vote-getter, followed by robots in combat and universal connectivity.

For so-called “tech elites,” though, universal connectivity and machine intelligence have the greatest potential to benefit citizens. Tech elites are defined as those who: are 25 and older; have an income of at least $75k; have at least a college degree; are employed in some way in the tech industry; read at least one news publication daily; and engaged in at least one political activity in the past year.

When Will These Technologies Have Their Impact?

While machine learning has the greatest perceived likelihood of changing the human experience, its time is a bit further off than other technologies, per respondents.

Only 15% believe that Americans will feel the impact of machine intelligence in less than 2 years. For most (65%), it will take 5 years or fewer.

Lasers and AR/VR, by comparison, will make their impact felt on a faster timeline, with around half or more feeling that it’ll take less than 3 years for those technologies to change the human experience of the world.

Tech Elites, for their part, generally see a quicker ramp-up for these technologies, with significantly more (25%) believing that Americans will feel the impact of machine learning in less than 2 years.

Which Industries Will Emerging Tech Impact the Most?

Tech Elites and the general population are generally in agreement about which industries will be most impacted, led by Technology and followed by Manufacturing and Energy.

The Healthcare industry will also feel the effects of these technologies, while around half of the public feels that Retail (52%) and Travel (50%) will also be impacted.

Not surprisingly, the Tech Elite has stronger opinions of tech’s impact than the general public.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 1,005 general population adults and 400 Tech Elites.


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