Just how scared are we of robots?

Posted: 27 January 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

A venture capital firm has launched a Robot Fear Index to track public concerns around the rise of robotics and automation.

Loup Ventures, a research-driven, early-stage VC firm based in New York debuted its Robot Fear Index on Thursday (26/01).

The index was created based on a survey of US consumers about their attitudes toward automation, artificial intelligence and robotics. On a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 meaning no fear or robots to 100 meaning widespread and extreme fear of robots, the Robot Fear Index has an initial score of 31.5.

“Our Robot Fear Index value of 31.5 suggests that, on balance, we’re cautiously comfortable with robots,” Andrew Murphy, a Loup Ventures managing partner, said in a blog post. “But the Robot Fear Index could very well rise. For example, we would expect the index value to increase following a fatal crash involving a self-driving car or a faulty surgical procedure performed with robotic assistance.”

Despite Loup Ventures’ data showing that 68% of US consumers have used a digital assistant and 68% have used some sort of robotic technology in the last three months, fear of the technology is still pervasive. 14% of consumers said that robots make them nervous and 46% suggested that they simply aren’t interested in robots.

Loup will continue to update the Robot Fear Index regularly.

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