Two thirds of British citizens believe robots will be working in government by 2037

New research from enterprise information management specialist OpenText, reveals that two thirds of UK citizens (66%) believe robots will be working in government within 20 years, with 16% thinking this could happen within the next one to two years.

Those surveyed did not, however, fear the introduction of robot technology in government. In fact more than one in four (26%) think that robot technology would make better decisions than elected government representatives. Yet, 16% said that despite robot technology being able to make better choices, they would want humans to make the final decisions.

An additional 35% of UK citizens do not feel as though robots would be able to factor in cultural aspects when it comes to making a decision.

When asked which government functions could be better performed by robot / intelligent automation technology, one in ten UK citizens (10%) said robots would make better decisions on the economy than humans.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • One in five (20%) think there would be less admin and form filling to complete as a result of introducing robot technology into government
  • ‘Reduced waiting times’ was identified as the biggest benefit to employing robot technology in government, with nearly a quarter of UK citizens (24%) identifying this as the main issue robots could help improve
  • Nearly one in five (19%) believe there would be fewer errors in government processes

However, despite the majority of UK citizens seeing the benefits of AI in the public sector and believing robots would work in government by 2037, they were more sceptical to the reality of its implementation in the near future, compared to other countries. The UK ranked lowest across European countries and the US when respondents were asked whether they think robot technology would be working in government in the next five years.

Digital diagnosis

In the healthcare sector, technology has already been used to update patient records, improve care delivery and streamline processes. Yet AI is increasingly being heralded as a technology to achieve further breakthroughs in the sector. The OpenText research reveals that UK consumers, too, see the advantages of the technology:

  • A quicker diagnosis was identified as the biggest benefit of introducing AI into healthcare, with one in three (33%) UK consumers believing robots would reach a decision on their condition much faster
  • As well as faster diagnosis, one in four (25%) British consumers believe they would get a more accurate diagnosis from AI
  • A quarter of UK consumers (25%) said robot technology would mean they wouldn’t have to rely on booking an appointment with a GP, while 24% said the biggest benefit would be no longer having to take time off work to visit a doctor

Nearly two in five (38%) UK consumers said they would trust the medical diagnosis given by AI and just over 1 in 10 (11%) said they would trust the diagnosis of AI more, or just as much, as a doctor’s diagnosis.

Commenting on these findings, Mark Bridger, VP, OpenText UK said: “The Digital Revolution will drive an increasing reliance on self-service technology, machine to machine (M2M) communication and AI, and there is no denying that every job in every industry will be impacted. However, while some jobs will disappear and others will change significantly, the opportunity for innovation and change is limitless.

Artificial intelligence and cognitive technologies will give government departments faster access to sophisticated insights, and consequently empower them to make better decisions for citizens.”

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