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The Gulf's growing trust in AI
Trust in AI and robotics is growing beyond global averages in the GCC
Oracle published the results of a survey of more than 11,000 consumers and business leaders across 15 countries this week, aiming to shed light on perceptions and attitudes towards Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and the use of technology. Although much of the sentiment illuminated in the study could be expected, it is an interesting study, and one of the most interesting aspects is the differences between perceptions and attitudes globally, versus the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
One of the highlights of the study, which was conducted by Pamela Rucker, CIO Advisor and Instructor for Professional Development - Harvard Division of Continuing Education, is the high percentage of people that would rather trust artificial intelligence to drive ESG in business than trust humans. Globally, 61% of those surveyed believe that AI will succeed in making the difference in ESG, where humans have failed. However, this percentage rises to 66% in Asia Pacific, 74% in the United Arab Emirates, and 79% in Saudi Arabia.
High confidence levels in AI in Saudi and the UAE are mirrored across other statistics in the survey.
The report states that 93% of business leaders globally said that they would trust AI over a human to make sustainability and social decisions. The survey uncovered perceptions that AI is better at collecting different types of data without error (43%); making rational, unbiased decisions (42%); and predicting future outcomes based on metrics/past performance (41%).
Again, Saudi Arabia and the UAE showed higher levels of confidence in AI, with 98 percent of business leaders in both countries trusting AI over human decision-making for ESG.
This week's Oracle report is one of a successful series of surveys conducted over the past 4-5 years to highlight perceptions and attitudes towards AI. Whilst the topics and sample audiences are not directly comparable, UAE audiences do seem to be becoming more and more positive towards AI.
In 2019, Oracle and Future Workplace published an AI at Work study, which found that 64% of people surveyed globally would trust a robot more than their manager. While workers in India (89%) and China (88%) were the most trusting, the UAE stat was 74% (the U.S. and U.K. percentages were 57% and 54% respectively).
In 2020, Oracle and Workplace Intelligence published an AI at Work study, finding that 68% of people would prefer to talk to a robot over their manager about stress and anxiety at work. The UAE statistic was 77% in favour of this.
Results published from a study by Oracle and personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi last year found that 67% of consumers and business leaders trust a robot more than a human to manage their finances. The figure was 70% in the UAE (and 76% in Singapore).
If you're in the business of selling AI applications and platforms in the region, then these figures might seem a little at odds with actual adoption rates. There remain gaps in knowledge, skills and management buy-in to move forward with AI projects. However, where there's a will, there's a way!
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