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South Koreans most positive about impact of AI according to new research

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Robot being used in airport in South Korea to help with check-in process

The latest 2021 World Risk Poll report has highlighted that residents of South Korea are the most confident of the world’s nations about the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI).

A Digital World Perceptions of risk from AI and misuse of personal data

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South Korea leads global optimism in AI benefits

According to the report – A Digital World: Perceptions of risk from AI and misuse of personal data – by global safety charity Lloyd’s Register Foundation, more than two thirds (70%) of South Koreans felt AI will ‘mostly help’ people in their country in the next 20 years, compared to a global average of just 39%. Conversely, only 15% of South Koreans believe AI will ‘mostly harm’ people, providing the widest gap between the two responses from a single nation in the Poll.

The report is based on a global poll powered by Gallup, where over 125,000 people from across 121 countries were asked questions about a range of safety issues as part of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll. As a region, Eastern Asia was the most positive region in the world when discussing the benefits AI could provide.

South Korea is among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of private investment in AI between 2013 and 2021, and the report suggests that the countries which invest in the technology may have a more positive outlook on its future capabilities. However, other countries to appear in this list of top investors included China, USA, Japan and Germany and not all were as optimistic about the consequences of this investment as South Koreans.

Dr Sarah Cumbers, Director of Evidence and Insight at Lloyd's Register Foundation, said: “Artificial intelligence has become a major driver of technological and economic development, but many countries across the globe are facing significant challenges in earning their citizens’ trust in its use. However, in South Korea, this is not the case, with more people showing their confidence in how the technology can help than anywhere else in the world.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results correlate with the fact South Korea is one of the top investors in AI technology – although not all countries around the world investing in this technology have populations that are as optimistic. There may be much to learn for other nations from those involved in developing and regulating the AI industry in South Korea about how to enable the adoption of such technologies in ways that build public confidence.”

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