Singaporeans averse to use AI in education, transport sector

Singaporeans don’t encourage use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the field of education to teach their kids or utilise robots in the transport sector, reveals a survey by Blackbox Research. However, they have welcomed integration of Artificial Intelligence into homes and supermarkets.

Artificial Intelligence in the field of education in singapore
Singaporeans don’t encourage use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the field of education. Photo courtesy: Sire

About 57 per cent of the people in Singapore are not inclined to teach their children through robots or integrating AI in education. Only 43 per cent or just over 4 in 10 in Singapore are willing to impart education using modern tools of AI. This was below the regional average of 58 per cent and just above Indonesia at 40 per cent-lowest among the five Asian countries surveyed including Japan, China and South Korea.

The survey was conducted with 3,213 adult respondents spread across five countries from October 12 to 13, 2016.

Sentiments towards AI integration were similar in the transport sector for most Singaporeans and Indonesians. Only 49 per cent of Singaporeans and 47 per cent of Indonesians polled opined that they were comfortable with AI integration, way below the regional average of 66 per cent.

Even the survey report of Blackbox has expressed amazement on this trend and observed, “Surprisingly for a country playing host to the world’s first self-driving taxis, less than half of Singaporeans are comfortable with AI integration in their transport, suggesting a decrease in trust in self-automated transport post July’s runaway LRT incident.”

One incident worthy of mentioning of losing of people’s trust on self-automated transport system was of July 28, 2016 where a fault on an LRT train's antenna caused the train to skip three stations along the Bukit Panjang LRT line.

However, respondents have welcomed integration of Artificial Intelligence into homes and supermarkets in Singapore in tune with the sentiments of regional countries. About 74 per cent of Singaporeans will be happy to amalgamate AI technology in their households in accordance with 80 per cent of the regional countries. Here, China topped the list with 87 per cent people willing to integrate AI in their homes followed by South Korea with 79 per cent.

Singaporeans have welcomed use of Artificial Intelligence in households and supermarkets
Singaporeans have welcomed use of Artificial Intelligence in households and supermarkets. Photo courtesy: HR in Asia

Almost nine in 10 Chinese, or 88 per cent, would also allow a robot to do their household chores, followed by Japan at 76 per cent and South Korea at 75 per cent. Singapore and Indonesia were at 67 per cent, the survey showed.

A high level of acceptance for AI tech was seen for the supermarkets category, too, with 73 per cent of Singaporeans indicating their acceptance.

The survey ends on an optimistic note with the observation, “The survey findings show that the potential for artificial intelligence in Asia is enormous. Theoretically, Asians have always been quick adaptors of new technology, and it would seem that the region is now poised to lead the rest of the world in embracing even higher forms of technology.

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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