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/imec.AI barometer

imec.AI barometer

With the steep rise of applications based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), the next technological revolution as right at our doorstep. The aim of this first AI Barometer by imec.livinglabs is to get a better view on the adoption and attitudes towards AI/ML applications of both consumers and companies.

What are our main conclusions?

From the data from our survey, we can observe 2 important disconnections.

  • The first is a disconnect in terms of adoption and AI expertise between the individual companies. Those that already have a lot of in-house AI/ML expertise tend to value the opportunities brought about by AI/ML technology much more than companies that have little or no AI/ML experience at all. Additionally, companies with in-house AI/M expertise plan to extend that expertise much more than companies that have little or no AI/ML expertise at all. That presence of AI/ML expertise is therefore a strong self-reinforcing effect. This may trigger a growing disconnect between companies that are “on board” with AI/ML, and those that “missed the boat” and stay behind.
  • The second disconnect is linked to data privacy. Customers seem to increasingly value both the careful handling of their personal data and the transparency about the way in which their data is stored and used. While more and more customers consider GPDR to be the minimum requirement for guaranteed data transparency, companies seem to perceive GDPR as the maximum effort that must be taken in terms of data privacy. This creates a structural breach of confidence that might impact customers’ attitude towards AI/ML and the adoption rate of AI/ML applications. In view of the large amounts of (personal) data required for AI applications, this growing breach of confidence might endanger the future of AI.

Want to know more? Download the full AI Barometer report here (only in Dutch):

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Based on the results of the consumer survey, we identified 4 AI consumer profiles. Below you’ll find a description of each profile. Curious to know what your AI profile is? Find out by taking the profile test here!

Take the test here


Unknown & unloved


People in the “Unknown & unloved” group usually don't have much experience with Artificial Intelligence and its applications. They find the technology to be problematic for their privacy, and maintain a critical attitude towards AI. Since they do not feel like there is enough added value in using it, they are also not willing to share (personal) data for AI's sake. AI is "unknown and unloved" to them, and they prefer to keep your distance from the technology.

AI ambassadors


AI Ambassadors are great fans of Artificial Intelligence. They see value in the technology, both to themselves and to society. They are not really concerned about the impact of AI on their privacy. Because they get something in return (e.g. convenience, personalization, ...), they are willing to share their personal data.  As real fans and "AI ambassadors", they usually have a rather thorough understanding of the technology and have used AI applications on more than one occasion.

Torn between hope and fear

AI is no stranger to people in this group. They usually have a rather deep understanding of the technology, and have used the occasional AI application. More than anyone, they realize how valuable AI technology can be. Still, they have some concerns about the privacy aspects of AI. As such, they are mostly appreciative of AI applications that display a high degree of transparency on why their personal data are needed (e.g. medical applications). They are somewhere stuck in the middle, and can be said to be "torn between hope and fear" about the possibilities and pitfalls of AI.

See which way the wind blows

People in this group usually have some knowledge about Artificial Intelligence and its possibilities, yet do not have extensive experience with AI applications. While they believe that AI has (some) value, they are also concerned about the impact of AI on their privacy. They remain skeptical towards AI. They are on a tipping point and prefer to "see which way the wind blows".

For companies

The success of the evolutions towards an AI & data driven economy depend largely on the trust consumers have in technologies and the companies behind these technologies. More than ever, transparency in use of data and business models can be a differentiating factor in the digital field. We keep monitoring the attitudes towards AI and data driven products and services. On the one hand, through the imec.AI barometer, on the other, by setting up real life user tests for next generation digital solutions. This way, consumers and companies can further discover and finetune the advantages of digital technology in all transparency.

Is your company interested in AI and digital innovation? Do you have an idea, a first prototype or a go to market product, but is real life feedback from your potential end users still a missing piece of the puzzle? Contact Olivier Rits -