Like many in the tech space, we believe robotics is changing the nature of work; however, public perception of robots is still a question mark. We developed our Robot Fear Index to measure and track the average consumer’s perception of robots. We asked over 500 US consumers about topics ranging from their use of robots at home to their comfort level with self-driving cars. Then we distilled the data down to an index value that we will publish regularly. An index value of 100 suggests widespread and extreme fear of robots; an index value of 0 suggests minimal fear of robots.
Consumer adoption of Artificial Intelligence and robotics is already quite broad. Consider how often you see someone dictating a text message to Siri or using the self-checkout lane at the grocery store. Our data shows that 68% of US consumers have used a digital assistant and 68% have used some sort of robotic technology in the last three months. And yet, fear of robots is also pervasive. We fear that they’ll replace our jobs or somehow overthrow us; and to be blunt, those fears are valid. To quantify, 14% of consumers say that robots make them nervous and 46% suggest that they simply aren’t interested in robots. Our Robot Fear Index value of 31.5 suggests that, on balance, we’re cautiously comfortable with robots. Let’s look at what’s driving this perception.