New poll reveals that 97% of Brits lack knowledge of AI’s presence in real estate

4 June 2024
  • Fewer than one in ten UK adults (9%) claim to have full knowledge of AI
  • Almost two in five (38%) UK adults still cannot correctly define AI
  • Glaring absence of knowledge (97%) of AI’s integration within the real estate sector
  • A third of the general UK population (33%) failing to see the impact in daily life
  • Deep distrust of AI in critical domains like healthcare diagnostics, decision making in financial investments and vehicular operations

Locale, UK’s leading occupier experience platform, has unveiled eye-opening insights into the public’s understanding of artificial intelligence (AI). Despite the inevitability of AI revolutionising every facet of society in the coming years, the latest poll commissioned by Locale has unearthed a surprising truth: the general population’s grasp on AI is very low.

According to the survey undertaken by pollster Opinium of 2,000 UK adults, fewer than one in ten (9%) UK adults claimed to have full knowledge of what AI is and, of those, when asked to correctly define AI, almost two fifths (38%) could not.

A significant 33% of respondents fail to see the impact of AI in daily life, including 18% who haven’t noticed it anywhere and 15% who don’t know. Meanwhile a mere 9% acknowledged noticing its presence significantly. Unexpectedly, fewer than two-fifths (37%) are aware of AI’s integration in certain aspects of daily life.

Notable lack of awareness regarding AI's integration within the real estate sector

This absence of cognisance is particularly striking, with a meagre 3% of UK professing to possess comprehensive knowledge concerning AI's multifaceted applications within the real estate sector, and a substantial 71% of respondents indicating their unfamiliarity with AI’s involvement in real estate operations.

Among those surveyed, only 14% reported a limited acquaintance with AI’s utilisation within the real estate domain, while an additional 12% expressed a more substantial degree of familiarity, albeit without detailing insights into its specific applications.

A stark generational divide

Younger generations comprehensively outshine their elders in AI comprehension. Among respondents over 55 years, a substantial 75% possess mere recognition of AI, lacking any depth of understanding. The knowledge gap extends to the 34-54 age group, with 57% feeling adrift and only a third (34%) reporting they know a lot about it.

Yet, amidst this uncertainty, almost two thirds (61%) of those aged 18-34 claimed knowledge in AI’s complexities, painting a vivid picture of generational divergence in understanding.

Trust in AI's capabilities - a blend of confidence and scepticism

In arenas perceived as lower risk, there exists a prevailing trust in AI. Notably, a substantial third of people (36%) – the most of any specific life activity – trust in AI’s aptitude for capturing personalised entertainment recommendations, acknowledging its capacity to enrich leisure pursuits. Similarly, a significant proportion (33%) rely on AI to refine customer service interactions.

AI research paper

However, within specific domains, scepticism persists. A noteworthy two-fifths (41%) exhibit doubt regarding AI’s competency in diagnosing health ailments, underscoring the indispensable role of human expertise in healthcare contexts. Likewise, the prospect of AI assuming control in vehicular operations elicits heightened distrust, with a significant 56% expressing wariness in surrendering authority to artificial intelligence.

Guy Windsor-Lewis, Chief Executive of Locale, commented: “There is no doubt that AI remains in its nascent stages. This piece of research highlights the significant amount of work that the sector needs to do. As an industry focused on improving the lives of people in the way they live and work, there is a stark lack of understanding of how technology is impacting the very people we are catering for – perhaps we are only communicating its impact within an echo chamber? Ultimately, this also reinforces the need to ensure that basic technology is not only implemented but also deployed for the long term and evolved to eventually incorporate the benefits of AI.”

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