AI Study: The Coasts Are Excited, The Midwest & The South Are Not

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Conversica, a leader in conversational AI for business, released the results of its Regional AI Adoption study that polled residents across the United States to see how they are currently using AI and how excited they are about the prospects of artificial intelligence helping to solve local problems.

Results of the study show that Americans feel optimistic about AI and hope that it will someday help to address homelessness, relieve traffic and cure diseases—although priorities vary by location and generation.

AI From Coast to Coast

A majority of Americans (72 percent) are already using AI—voice assistant functions on their phone like Siri or Hey Google (42 percent), Netflix or Amazon recommendations (40 percent), and Waze or other traffic-routing maps (32 percent)—and a majority (54 percent) feel optimistic about it and the impacts it will have on our society.

But attitudes about AI vary.

In the Midwest and the South, only 17-19% of those surveyed said they were excited about AI, whereas along the coasts, a majority of people are excited about what AI can do for them.  In fact, San Francisco is the city that is most excited about AI.  That’s followed by New York and then Los Angeles.

People living in San Francisco are more familiar with AI (79 percent) than those living in New York (70 percent) or Los Angeles (72 percent) and are more likely to think that AI will make people’s lives more productive , improve healthcare and traffic, and make people safer. Of the Angelenos excited about AI, half say their excitement is due to the promise that AI will improve traffic.

Meanwhile, more than 1 in 10 New Yorkers have never even heard of AI—more than twice as many as San Franciscans (1 in 20)—but, of the three cities, New Yorkers also use the most AI products and are more likely to chat with bots than people in LA or San Francisco.

Vast Majority of Americans Hope AI Can Help

Eighty-seven percent of Americans would like AI to help solve a problem in their community.

Help with traffic tops the list for everyone but especially Angelenos (21 percent); help solving homelessness ranks highest for San Franciscans (15 percent); and help with public transportation (14 percent) ranks high for New Yorkers. Additionally:

  • Predicting natural disasters ranks high for West Coasters (13 percent)
  • People with kids would also like AI to help predict natural disasters, while people without kids would most like AI’s help solving homelessness
  • Millennials are particularly interested in help with unemployment and public health (12 percent each)
  • Gen Xers (14 percent) join seniors (23 percent) in wanting predictions about natural disasters; Boomers have a particular concern about homelessness (13 percent)
  • Seniors would most like AI to help with gun control (14 percent)

Disease and Accidents Are Top Concerns

When it comes to developing artificial intelligence capabilities to solve real-world problems, there is a basic consensus on top priorities regardless of location:

  • Curing disease — 51 percent
  • Ending traffic and accidents — 44 percent
  • Saving humans from dangerous jobs — 42 percent
  • Exploring our universe — 37 percent
  • Ending homelessness — 36 percent
  • Better educating our children — 36 percent

What this research shows is that Americans fundamentally believe that  AI will help  improve the world,” said Alex Terry, CEO of Conversica. “The level of enthusiasm for solving real-world problems with new technology is heartening. Every day I see in business how AI is making jobs more productive and freeing humans for more creative work, and I look forward to when AI technology is  tackling a broader range of important issues.”


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