Pega, a software company that specializes in creating customer engagement and digital process automation software, recently discovered that many consumers still don’t see the benefits of engaging with an AI. This lack of understanding about the benefits of AI translates into an overall distrust of consumers towards the emerging technology.

The study asked consumers their opinion if an AI could be trusted to decide on their qualifications for a bank loan, as compared to a human evaluator. Only 25% of the total number of respondents said that they deemed the AI’s decisions as trustworthy. It was also found that 56% of the respondents don’t believe it’s possible to develop machines that “behave morally”, and only 12% believe that they’ve encountered a machine that has demonstrated empathy.

Based on the results, Pega’s Vice-President for Decisioning and Analytics Dr. Rob Walker concluded that consumers prefer speaking to people over an AI likely because they trust people more and believe that they can influence another human’s decision. The study also showed that AI systems need the ability to make ethical decisions for consumers to “trust” them. As in this case, the AI should have the capacity to make an ethics-based decision on whether a person should be offered a loan apart from simply following bank regulations.

The good news is that after unearthing these insights on consumer sentiment towards AI, Pega launched Customer Empathy Advisor, a tool designed to integrate empathy and decision-making capabilities into its AI.

Pega’s efforts and success in incorporating ethics and decision-making capacities into their AI means that AI companies understand consumers’ “trust issues” and have the means to address them. While consumers still have trust issues with AI, marketers won’t be dispensing with AI and going back to using humans to address these issues. If your company is faced with issues of trust or privacy among consumers, you’ll be glad to know that it’s possible to enhance your AI applications with ethics and decision-making capabilities. Companies that use AI with these capacities can expect to gain more trust, and flourish in the marketplace.

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