Dortmund | 19. July 2021
The pandemic as a driving force for digitalisation and artificial intelligence? That’s right, after 18 months of countless restrictions, the majority of Germans – young and old alike – are in favour of intelligent solutions that make everyday life easier. And they are even ready to give up personal data in the process, as the results of a survey of 1,000 consumers conducted by the IT service provider adesso reveal.
Digital technologies are becoming increasingly important in a world dominated by the coronavirus crisis. They are being used to monitor the spread of the virus; to research and develop tests, vaccines and treatments; and to establish secure networks and communication. These are just some of the reasons why many consumers regard digitalisation and AI as a saving grace in the crisis. The vast majority of those surveyed by adesso support the use of high-tech solutions to fight the pandemic, and would in turn be willing to give up some of their personal data.
AI: benefiting from the crisis. With medical staff using artificial intelligence to search for drugs to combat Covid-19, researchers working on solutions to detect signs of infection in coughing sounds, disinfection robots independently cleaning hospitals and collaborative robots, or cobots, taking swabs autonomously, digital technologies have taken a major step forward in the fight against the pandemic. Of those surveyed, 68 % believe that AI has gained importance as a result of the coronavirus.
Disappointment in public administration. However, survey respondents believe that there is significant room for improvement when it comes to public administration, with 93 % of those surveyed calling for more public administration processes to be digitalised. Almost as many people – 88 % of respondents – believe that health authorities in Germany fail to make even rudimentary use of the available possibilities. Case in point: SORMAS. SORMAS is a tool that is designed to enable chains of infection to be tracked across district or municipality borders. Instead, many public bodies continue to use fax machines for these processes.
Sacrificing privacy. Despite widespread debate, and in contrast to the opinions of many experts, consumers are willing to share their personal data in the name of combating the pandemic. Among survey respondents, 76 % said that they would provide information allowing their contacts to be traced, and 67 % said that they would use an AI-supported app that would automatically assess the risk of various contacts.
“Whether in the healthcare industry, public administration or our in our social lives, the vast majority of people would like to see digital and AI-supported applications play a greater role in our society,” says Prof. Dr Volker Gruhn, Supervisory Board Chairman of adesso SE. “Even though I suspected the trend was moving in this direction, the extent of support for AI-based solutions is still surprising. Society has already progressed much further than public debate on the risks and side-effects of digital transformation suggest.”
adesso partnered with the Cologne-based market research institute HEUTE UND MORGEN to carry out a survey on AI between January and February 2021. A total of 956 decision-makers in the business world and 1,000 consumers from a wide range of industries and age groups in Germany, Austria and Switzerland were surveyed. The figures quoted in this press release refer to the consumer survey.