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Survey shows resistance to robots

March 22, 2019

Results from a survey of more than 2,000 people show significant resistance amongst the UK population to Artificial Intelligence (AI) being used to provide care.

The research, carried out by UK recruitment specialist Randstad, involved 2,694 people, with 2,224 (83%) saying they don’t think robots should be used in the care industry and only 470 people (17%) in favour of AI helping to fill the current skills shortage.

Victoria Short, managing director for public services at Randstad UK, said that unless more people were encouraged to enter and remain in the industry, technology may be turned to to help provide care services that most people would ideally prefer humans to deliver.

“We talk to care workers daily, and know that two of their biggest concerns are remuneration and time pressures,” said Ms Short.

“Our data tells us that public perception of AI and robotics in care isn’t positive, however we need to work towards highlighting some the potential benefits it can bring to make care roles easier and more fulfilling for the vital workforce we’re striving to retain and attract. By carefully combining the most relevant technology with the most in-demand human skill sets, we can deliver the best possible care solution – protecting some of our nation’s most vulnerable individuals.”

Robots to remind people to take medication, which can perform menial tasks, and even provide companionship are being used in various pilot projects around the UK and globally, and the Institute for Public Policy Research says that full automation in the NHS could free up as much as £12.5bn of staff time.

But Randstad’s latest data on robots in care follows an earlier survey which revealed that 84% of people wouldn’t trust a robot to deliver health or social care.

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