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SAS Survey Says AI Works for Healthcare Consumers

By Ken Briodagh
April 16, 2018

Some people are afraid of the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), especially when combined with IoT technologies, but a new study from data analytics giant SAS indicates that consumers are surprisingly comfortable with the technology being leveraged for use in healthcare.

When presented with a variety of real-world AI scenarios, a majority of respondents were at ease with AI in healthcare, and more comfortable with AI in healthcare settings than banking or retail. The SAS survey of 500 Americans found that a lack of human interaction was the top reason respondents cited for feeling uncomfortable with the technology. About 47 percent of them reported being comfortable with companies using AI in business interactions generally.

Data privacy is a concern among those surveyed. Only a third of respondents were at all confident that personal data used for AI was being stored securely. About 42 percent of people under 40 years of age felt more confident that their information was protected, versus just 31 percent of older respondents.

“Consumers feel positively about AI when they believe it’s being used for good,” said David Tareen, Marketing Manager for AI, SAS. “In this survey, healthcare scenarios were well-received, indicating that respondents were comfortable with a tangible benefit to the technology. Overall, a lack of understanding about what AI is and can do is a significant factor for those who fear it.”

AI technologies that assist physicians in patient care rated well with SAS survey respondents, even when asked about surgery. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed were comfortable with AI assisting doctors in the operating room. More than half of respondents over age 40 were willing to go under the knife with the help of technology, compared with only 40 percent under age 40. Sixty percent were comfortable with a doctor using data from wearable devices to assess lifestyle factors and make recommendations based on that data.

On the other hand, survey respondents were not comfortable with banks using AI. Monitoring for fraud and other potential threats was the only exception, with 59 percent indicating they were comfortable with this use of AI. Accessing a customer’s credit history to make a credit card recommendation was the least popular among potential real-world uses of AI by banks.

The SAS AI research is based on an online survey of 500 U.S. consumers, representing an age range of 18 to 70, conducted by SAS in early March 2018.


Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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