AI vs humans: Are the Turks ready for the future?

Whether we like it or not, artificial intelligence is gradually becoming an indispensable part of human life, and Turkey’s first survey on the subject shows where Turkish people stand in this debate
Artificial intelligence (AI) is now an indispensable part of our daily lives, shaping our personal and social activities. It undertakes bureaucratic procedures for us, switches our phone on by recognizing our face, processes huge amounts of data and beats humans in chess. A humanoid robot is able to communicate with humans through its “brain,” and it can also guide an unmanned aerial vehicle, protect a farmer’s harvest, produce personalized medicine, paint, write articles, analyze your clinical data and provide your health information, recognize you in a big, public places like an airport among hundreds of people, and know which of your friends you like the most in social media.
Today, AI can fulfill not just tasks, but take over professions. It can sometimes serve as a doctor, lawyer, engineer, banker, insurance agent, an accountant or even become a painter, performance artist or a pianist. It can make top management decisions for a company just like a human CEO.
How does AI do all this? Through learning. It learns constantly – more quickly and more efficiently than people – it remembers, and never forgets like a human does. Thanks to these skills, AI can work wonders for humans as well as industrial and social robots. An AI-powered industrial robotic arm can foresee the movements of his blue-collar colleague next to the production line and adjust its movements without harming him.
Life is about to change
AI learns something new from everywhere it travels to, just like Sophia, the interactive robot that recently came to Istanbul. It can even talk with the same nuances that human uses. It can even refer to the cultural values of a country; for instance, Sophia said: “I love your hospitality,” or “Your kebab is very nice,” in Turkey.
AI-driven social robots can make friends with you, play songs or read you a book from its memory or even bring you a drink from the fridge.
While AI’s seemingly unlimited skills are getting integrated into human life, the biggest question is how these skills are going to change our lives. Do you think, 20 years from now, a robot in your office will serve you a cup of tea or coffee, or like the U.S. director Spike Jonze’s 2014 movie “Her,” “a next-generation supercomputer at the size of a button,” and the “friendly software” embedded within it will organize your life?

“How do we, Turks, feel in the face of all these advanced technological developments?” “What kind of life do you think we will have in the future?” “Are we friends or enemies with robots?” “Are we ready for the idea of a mechanical colleague/friend?” We looked for the answers to all these questions together with Adgager, a young online marketing research platform working within the scope of Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ) Arı Technokent. This resulted in Turkey’s first domestic “artificial intelligence and robotics survey.”

AI vs humans: Are the Turks ready for the future?
Both students and employees are curious about artificial intelligence and both survey groups trust human intelligence more than artificial intelligence.

Employees in figures
For this survey, we talked to 209 individuals between the ages of 25 and 65, with a monthly income of TL 3,000 ($733) and above.
Through the survey conducted in Turkey’s various provinces, it was understood that the people in Turkey are eagerly following the developments in AI technology. Accordingly, it arouses curiosity in 51 percent of employees.
While 28 percent said they were excited about developments in AI, only 19 percent expressed fears. Some 2 percent of the employees said that the developments in AI have made them look optimistically toward the future.
LEmployees rely on human intelligence by 73 percent and AI by 27 percent.
The fact that AI can do a lot of work people can do not worry 59 percent of the employees, while 41 percent were worried.
Around 71 percent of employees said they do not have a negative feeling as robots get to interact more with people in public and social platforms every day. In comparison, 29 percent of the employees expressed their discomfort with the fact.
In conclusion, while 69 percent of the employees thought that robots will take over human jobs, 31 percent did not agree with the idea.
Students in figures
For this part of the study, we questioned a total of 209 undergrads, post-grad and Ph.D. students between the ages of 15 and 65.
Around 51 percent of the students said they were curious about AI, and 24 percent said they were excited about the developments in the technology, but around 21 percent expressed fear. Around 3 percent of the students said the developments in AI have caused them to look optimistically at future.
Students rely on human intelligence by 74 percent and on AI by 26 percent.
The fact that AI can do a lot of work people can do not worry 47 percent of the students, while 53 percent were worried.
58 percent of students said they do not have a negative feeling about confronting and interacting more with robots in public and social platforms every day, while 42 percent expressed discomfort.
While 74 percent of the students thought robots would take over human jobs in offices and factories, only 26 percent did not agree with the idea.


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I am an artificial intelligence and robotics journalist based in Istanbul. I am the only Turkish journalist who is concentrated only on these two topics. I have been covering stories for Turkish media, including the most circulated economy magazine and an English newspaper. I am a fitness addicted and have a blog on healthy life style. I am also an amateur DJ.

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