electronica Trend Index 2018 – Consumers’ thoughts on AI, robots, and digital security

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81% of consumers all around the world would like “electronic devices of the future” to make their lives easier. However, users have very different views on what artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and digitalization should and shouldn’t be allowed to do.

For example, 71% of global consumers think that, even in the future, electronic devices should only assist humans and that our own thought processes should not be replaced with AI. These are findings of the electronica trend index (2nd edition). In June 2018, a market research institute surveyed 7,000 consumers, representing cross-sections of their relevant populations in the USA, China, Japan, Germany, France, the UK, and Italy, for the world leading trade fair and conference, electronica.

Navigation systems and smartphones have popularized smart voice control in private households. Manufacturers are working at full speed with artificial intelligence and digital networking to build on the current success of smart electronics. The concept of voice control is clearly popular among consumers: Around 60% of consumers worldwide are in favor of electronic devices being able to engage in dialog with humans in the future—along the lines of familiar voice-activated assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. Chinese (85%), US American (68%), and Italian (66%) consumers are particularly enthusiastic about being able to converse with electronic devices in the future. However, 17% of consumers all around the world strongly object to the concept of talking electronics.

What robots should and shouldn’t be able to do

There is a consensus amongst consumers that digital assistants shouldn’t be too “human-like”: In response to the question regarding how future service robots should behave, 72% are in favor of robots with artificial intelligence remaining clearly recognizable as machines. The strongest advocates for this are Italians (78%) and US Americans (77%). However, even in Japan, which comparably has the lowest level of support, there is still a clear majority of 69% in favor.

Alexa, Siri & Co.: Every second German wants to speak with electronic devices

The “Voice Internet” is on the advance: 59 percent of German consumers consider voice control of electronic devices important. One in two even wants to conduct a human-like dialogue via smart voice assistants, following the example of Alexa, Siri & Co. In the international comparison the Federal citizens are rather reserved with their discussion desires. For comparison: 86 percent of Chinese people want to communicate with their electronic devices.

According to German consumers, the electronics of the future should not only communicate like a human being, but also become much smarter:
60 percent consider it important that smart devices of the future become increasingly versatile through intelligent learning (artificial intelligence). To keep up to date, devices are allowed to access the Internet independently for updates, for example – 61 percent of Germans say.

Hacker protection with automatic updates

The approval for automatic updates rises again significantly if the devices are to protect themselves against hacker attacks with the online service. In this case, 75 percent of German consumers are in favour of automatic updating. However, the majority of consumers are very sensitive when it comes to the use of personal data: 62 percent demand that electronic devices may only use personal data after prior approval – conversely, such data protection is only ten percent unimportant. Consumers in China are of a similar opinion: 68 percent demand the release of personal data – only three percent think such an option is unimportant. In the USA, the figure is 57 percent approval versus ten percent rejection.

electronica 2018 – from 13 to 16 November in Munich

More than 3,000 exhibitors from more than 50 countries will be showing the trends that already exist in round and smart electronics and how the smart world is developing at electronica 2018 in Munich from 13 to 16 November.


electronica Trend Index 2018

As the electronica Trend Index 2018 shows, consumers all around the world are thinking long and hard about the electronics of the future.