Survey shows global consumers enthusiastic about AI

In June 2016 Weber Shandwick and KRC Research surveyed 2,100 consumers online in five global markets on their feelings about AI.

Perceptions of AI are undoubtedly coloured by stories about robots, drones, gaming, and speech recognition so understanding of what AI is in practice is limited, with only 18% saying they know a lot about it and one third knowing nothing. The findings suggested that consumers have some concerns about job loss, security issues, and privacy infringement, with the probability of job loss due to AI being the largest concern among respondents. When asked whether AI is more likely to create jobs or lead to job losses, more consumers said job losses (82%) than job creation (18%).

Even with these concerns for the most part consumers are very accepting of AI. Far more saw AI’s likely impact on society as positive (45%) than negative (7%). Many people appear to still be willing to use AI to save time, complete dangerous tasks, and make their lives easier – a majority trusted AI to provide elder care, health advice, financial guidance, and social media content creation. Over 40% trusted AI to cook, teach, police, drive and provide legal advice.

It seems that consumers for the most part agree with the message emphasised by Barrack Obama that ‘’historically we’ve absorbed new technologies, new jobs are created, and standards of living go up”.  


Business leaders broadly supportive as government develops plans for workers on boards

Theresa May has made the issue of reforming capitalism a central theme of her leadership, pledging reform on executive pay and pensions as well as governance. In her speech for the Tory leadership, Theresa May attacked runaway executive pay and said she would put workers and consumers on boards to make companies more accountable to society.

This proposal has been well received - in a poll of more than 60 company bosses and policymakers a clear majority spoke out in favour of employee representation on boards, contrary to predications that big business would be hostile to the idea.

Sergio Ermotti, chief executive of UBS, said the policy was a “worthwhile idea”, in part because of that investor angle. “Our employees taken together are our second-largest shareholder,” he said. “If they held the shares through a single body, one could certainly argue for board representation.”

Even so, there are still many questions left to answer, for example, whether employee representatives have the legal obligation to represent the interests of all stakeholders, not just staff. This proposal is at its early stages and in order to fully assess the impact this will have on the UK workforce and employee engagement more detail is needed.


Millennials first generation set to earn less than their parents according to new study

New research by The Resolution Foundation found that under-35s earned £8,000 less in their twenties than Generation X workers. This generation, also known as Millennials, are set to become the first generation to earn less than their predecessors. Prime Minister Theresa May warned last week of a growing divide between a "more prosperous older generation and a struggling younger generation".

The think-tank also found that millennials will have spent £44,000 more on rent by the time they reach 30 compared to the baby boomers, and £25,000 more than Generation X. Extra spending on rent and increased cost of living has further contributed to reduced standards of living among young people and made it increasingly difficult for them to save for a deposit to buy a house.

Senior policy analyst Laura Gardiner said: "Britain's continuing failure to build enough homes means that unless we change course the struggle of young people to own their home is only going to get worse."