People trust humans over robots for medical advice

Robert Scammell 5 April 2018 (Last Updated April 5th, 2018 13:04)

The majority of people in the UK would choose a human over a robot when receiving medical advice, according to analysis by Reboot Digital Marketing. 

People trust humans over robots for medical advice
Despite the growing use of artificial intelligence, it is yet to take on the traditional role of a human medical practitioner. Credit: RoboCup2013 via Flickr

The majority of people in the UK would choose a human over a robot when receiving medical advice, according to analysis by Reboot Digital Marketing.

The findings, taken from a survey of 6,000 people across the UK by Mindshare, found that only 11% would prefer a robot for medical advice, the lowest level of trust across eight surveyed sectors.

While trust in medical advice from robots its low, artificial intelligence solutions are increasingly being developed for use across healthcare, from image scanning to diagnosing eye diseases.

Recent research suggests that this trend will increase, not just in healthcare but across multiple sectors, with think tank Centre for Cities recently reporting that one in five jobs in Britain could fall victim to automation by 2030.

Similarly, auditing firm PWC estimated that more than 10 million UK workers will be at high risk of being displaced by robots within the next 15 years.

Managing director of Reboot Digital Marketing Shai Aharony said: “Automation is undoubtedly on the rise. As the technologies which underpin its development become more sophisticated and efficient, certain industries will certainly face the real prospect of robotics and artificial intelligence disrupting their traditional flow of human labour.”

However, despite the rapid improvements in AI and robotics, it doesn’t appear that robots will be replacing humans at the user end to give advice to patients any time soon; such technology is more likely to continue as a supplementary tool for human diagnosis rather than a substitute.

“Whilst the assumption tends to be that it will either be people or robots, I believe they will complement each other in different tasks and facilitate new types of jobs,” said Aharony.

“What this research certainly demonstrates is that Brits currently favour humans as opposed to robots in a handful of occupations/situations. Although, as automation becomes more prominent and Brits understanding of it drastically improves, this may potentially change.”

The research also found that 25% of people would elect robots to the position of MP and a similar number would select robots over humans to be bankers (29%).

People were found most trusting of robots for carrying out car comparisons, with 60% opting for automation over a human.