The Flemish public acceptance of AI is lagging. This is one of the findings by the annual Imec.digimeter survey. While the government is heavily investing in AI initiatives and companies are eager to join in, only 18 percent of the Flemish is fully onboard.
The survey considers the first wave of digitalization completed. Every household in Flanders now has at least one smart device. The next wave – artificial intelligence – hasn’t been accepted by most Flemings, despite a growing interest in the topic.
Although 18 percent is enough critical mass to continue expanding AI, all Flemings should be persuaded, says Lieven De Marez, a professor in new communication technologies at the joint research group of Imec and Ghent University. “Introducing AI should be done gradually, without scaring people away with applications of which they don’t see the point. Firstly, we need to inform them and make it clear to them what AI can do for each of us. Our survey shows that Flanders isn’t ready yet for a massive rollout of AI services.”
According to De Marez, Flanders does have all the assets to successfully complete the AI digitization path. “We just have to make sure that policymakers, companies and the wider public keep up the same pace. If not, we risk a rift between the early adopters and the rest of Flanders, and we may lose the AI momentum.”