Asian Consumers Feel the Future is Brighter with AI

The world may see AI taking away jobs, but Asian consumers do not appear to feel threatened. Instead, they see AI improving their lives and are willing to upskill to keep up with the technology.

The conclusion comes from new research Artificial Intelligence in Asia: Trust, Understanding and the Opportunity to Re-Skill. YouGov, commissioned by Salesforce, conducted the research that covered seven Asian markets, including Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, It used a sample size of 1000 consumers in each market.

Overall, Asian consumers were upbeat about AI. Sixty-three percent noted that it would improve the world and their lives while helping them to make smarter decisions and their jobs more interesting.

Singaporean consumers are slightly more upbeat than their Hong Kong counterparts. Sixty-one percent thought AI would help to do a better or more interesting job, compared to 55% of Hong Kong consumers. Only 29% from both countries felt that AI was a threat to their jobs.

Asian consumers were also pragmatic when it came to job opportunities. Overall, 58% highlighted the need to develop and upskill for an AI-driven future. In Singapore, 69% said that they would do this, while 45% in Hong Kong had the same view.

“As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, underpinned by an AI Revolution, the need to understand our customers is more pertinent than ever. We need to ensure Asia is future- ready," Renzo Taal, Senior Vice President, Salesforce APAC said.

When it comes to interaction, Asian consumers still prefer humans rather than their AI counterparts. It is especially surprising when China and Singapore are vying to be centers of AI research, especially in chatbots, robo-advisors, and self-driving cars.

Sixty-nine percent of Singapore consumers and 77% of Hong Kong consumers prefer humans offering financial and wealth advice rather than robo-advisors. Malaysian and Thai consumers had similar sentiments. But Indonesian and Filipino consumers see robo-advisors and human wealth advisors equally.

Consumers from Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines trust humans more than AI chatbots. Ninety percent of Singaporeans had the same opinion, even though 79% have interacted with a chatbot.

Among the different AI assistants, voice assistants came up tops. More than half of Asian consumers chose these AI-programs as the most popular choice for AI interactions.

When it comes to self-driving cars, Asian consumers prefer a human driving the vehicle. The results show that most believe that humans and AI programs have an equal chance of an accident. Only Hong Kong consumers felt humans were better drivers.