European consumers believe society isn’t ready for AI, survey finds

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The rapid rise of AI has evoked mixed feelings to say the least. Some experts champion it as a “force for good,” while others forewarn it poses a “risk of extinction.”

To assess how European consumers feel about artificial intelligence, decision intelligence company Morning Consult Pro surveyed 1,000 adults in five major markets across the continent: France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the UK.

The survey found that AI-powered online search is among the three most interesting applications across all countries but Spain, where it ranks fourth. Respondents are also excited about AI’s integration into healthcare diagnostics, road assistance, and flight and hotel recommendations.

However, the vast majority of the European consumers surveyed believe that society isn’t ready yet for AI. The sentiment is strongest in France and Germany, expressed by 74% and 70% of respondents, respectively.

Behind the hesitation lie concerns over the spread of misinformation, child protection, and personal data privacy. Specifically, no more than three in ten respondents trust generative AI with their personal data. In the UK and Spain, the top fear is AI’s irresponsible development by tech companies.

AI worries are also strongly tied to European consumers’ call for regulation. Over half of respondents across all markets agree that AI should be heavily regulated by the government. The number reaches 66% in Spain and 64% in the UK, where the government is in favour of an innovation-based approach — unlike the EU’s stricter, more risk-based AI Act.

Overall, the survey found that consumers are interested in AI, which they believe will play a major part in the future. Nevertheless, significant concerns over the potential abuse of technology and its uncontrollability still remain.

“Companies seeking to integrate AI into their products and services should be cognisant of where consumers draw the line,” noted Jordan Marlatt, Lead Tech Analyst at Moring Consult Pro.

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