Almost half of Canadians know little to nothing about AI: survey

'There's a lot of work to do to increase national AI readiness and Canadians' understanding of and trust in AI'

Almost half of Canadians know little to nothing about AI: survey

With all the talk about the surge of artificial intelligence (AI) adoption across, many Canadians do not know much about it.

More than two in five (43%) of Canadians say they know very little or nothing about the topic, reports TECHNATION.

"While AI adoption is surging globally, Canada is experiencing a lag in industry adoption. There's a lot of work to do to increase national AI readiness and Canadians' understanding of and trust in AI," says Angela Mondou, president and CEO of TECHNATION. "Canadians want investment in AI and are calling on government and businesses to work together to ensure workers are trained and prepared for the future. Canadians also clearly see the benefits of AI as long as there's responsible (agile) regulation."

Just over a third (34%) of workers say their organizations have assigned persons responsible for equipping them for AI use, according to a previous Gallagher report.

What are the benefits of artificial intelligence?

Despite the lack of AI knowledge for some, 57 per cent hold hope and see AI as beneficial, according to the TECHNATION-commissioned survey of 2,000 adult Canadians, conducted in January.

Nearly seven in 10 (69%) employers feel AI could help their workers take care of repetitive tasks, which would allow them to focus on work "that matters" (60%) and increase employee productivity (57%).

And many Canadians would be comfortable using the AI for analyzing and summarizing large amounts of data (73%) and copy (68%) and assisting in research (63%).

Also, most Canadians believe that there are benefits from using AI, such as better fraud detection (86%) and improved government services (73%).

And six in 10 believe that Canada should invest in AI to ensure the country is a technology leader and to increase the training and upskilling of workers in AI.

Nearly two-thirds of Canadians say that Canada will lose talented people to other countries if it doesn't invest in AI, and 42% believe the Canadians’ standard of living depends on how much Canadians invest in the technology.

"With Canada's economy comprised of 98 per cent small-medium enterprises (SMEs), our government must also consider the investment gaps in AI that some SMEs face and review policy levers to accelerate AI adoption by employers and industry sectors, enabling them to sufficiently participate and thrive in this transformational era driven by AI,” says Mary Ann Yule, TECHNATION chair and HP Canada president and CEO.

AI could be the key to improving the deteriorating relationship workers have with their work, according to both workers and employers, according to a previous HP report.

What are some negative impacts of AI?

Still, with all these positive perceptions of AI, 61% of Canadians believe it could be a threat, notes TECHNATION.

More than half (55%) of Canadian workers are not comfortable using AI to help them make decisions. Nearly nine in 10 (87%) have concerns about job loss due to automation from AI, and less than one in five believe that AI will create more jobs than it eliminates.

Nearly all (95%) of Canadians have some concerns about when AI is being used, and 93% are uneasy about potential national security risks.

Canadian workers say it's important to regulate financial and banking applications (61%), the use of deep fake videos (56%) and using facial recognition in public spaces (53%).

“The results of the survey align with what the tech industry knows: with the right level of investment, training and regulation we can enable Canadian employees while accelerating the responsible adoption of AI in Canada,” says Mondou.

“We're working closely with industry leaders and the federal government to preserve Canada's reputation and leadership in how we develop, regulate, and adopt responsible, ethical AI. Ultimately, Canada needs a revamped national AI strategy to reduce national barriers to adoption.”

The rise in AI-generated deepfake scams is keeping Canadian business leaders up at night, according to a recent KPMG report.

How to get ‘scalable impact’ from AI?

Here’s how employers can “get scalable impact from AI and speed up their transformation,” shares Wouter Huygen, CEO of AI technology company Rewire, via LinkedIn:

  1. Intentionally evolve your business and operating model, and capture the tactical short term opportunities without losing sight of the longer term goal.
  2. Drive the required change to get AI impact at scale.
  3. Transition to a more agile data & technology landscape to enable AI-powered workflow.

“It took 40 years for manufacturing to switch from steam to power. As with all new technologies, it's not necessarily the first movers that come out on top. It's the companies that are first to adopt new technologies in a way that supports their end-game. With this in mind, a wait-and-see approach may seem sensible: let others do the hard work and quickly catch-up once it's clear which path to take,” says Huygen.

“This is however a dangerous strategy. Winning with AI requires fundamental change, fusing AI into the DNA of your organization, creating and scaling self-learning systems that reinvent the very core of how you think, operate and innovate. This is a learning journey that is hard to catch up on.”

There is a rising demand for AI certification skills among businesses, according to a previous report from Udemy.

Recent articles & video

Total rewards in a career journey

Employee-employer trust gap widening – here’s what HR can do

Alberta launches new compensation model for doctors

Court orders city government to lift ‘nasty and wrong’ ban on contractor

Most Read Articles

Quebec teacher fired for joining ‘Survivor’ reality series

Why is Ontario’s gender pay gap ‘stuck’ at 32%?

Nearly three-quarters of middle managers in Canada experiencing burnout: survey