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Consumer distrust harming technological innovation in the UK, warns SQS

The continuous threat of malicious cyber-attacks and safety issues are severely affecting the adoption rate of innovative technology in the UK. Technological developments such as artificial intelligence (AI) are being snubbed due to concerns over hacking and the safety of AI driven devices. The public’s reluctance to buy into the latest tech products could see the UK left behind by the rest of the world in the race to effectively leverage technological innovations.

A new study by SQS, the end-to-end quality specialist for digital business, shows almost 80 per cent of UK adults looking to buy AI products in the future may reconsider due to the threat of hackers targeting AI technology. And nearly half (48 per cent) claim they would not purchase AI technology at all due to the threat of cyber-attacks.

Similarly, emerging technologies such as self-driving vehicles are seen by the public as unsafe and unreliable. Only 28 per cent of the public believe autonomous vehicles will be safer than humans and over 65 per cent are concerned self-driving cars would crash. Nearly three out of five (59 per cent) people are convinced self-driving cars could be infiltrated by hackers, which, could result in horrific incidents or potential hostage scenarios.

The concerns over cyber-security and safety do not end there. 56 per cent of UK adults worry their connected home apps could be hacked into. Additionally, 40 per cent think break-ins would increase due to flaws in the security of the connected home, compromising the safety of their property.

While advances in such technology have the capability to digitally transform our lives, less than a quarter (24 per cent) of those surveyed believe home robots are safe with over half (52 per cent) concerned they could also fall victims to cyber-criminals with malicious intentions using these robots against them.

Not only do these findings prove how easily consumer trust in technology can be swayed by threats of cyber-crime and safety implications, but they indicate a clear impact on the adoption rate of such innovative products. Nearly half (48 per cent) of people don’t believe smart homes will be a reality until at least 2037, falling behind the likes of North America and the Asia-Pacific region in the global race to utilise emerging technologies.

Commenting on the findings SQS’ CEO, Dik Vos, said:

“Emerging technologies should be embraced as early as possible if the UK is to gain an economic and technological advantage over countries who are willing to become early adopters. But for this to happen, the consumer trust issues that we have uncovered need to be addressed first.”

“Safety concerns and cyber vulnerabilities should be the top priority for companies developing innovative technology, rather than added as an afterthought or worse, once catastrophe has already struck. It is crucial that companies adopt a quality-first approach to gain the trust of the consumer. If advances such as AI, self-driving cars, home robots and connected houses are going to take off in the UK, stringent software testing and quality assurance must be carried out at every stage of product development to guarantee the safety of this technology.”

The scepticism and concern surrounding emerging technology could severely hamper the UK’s economic growth and further, widen the technology skills gap the nation is currently facing. If innovations such as AI, autonomous vehicles and smart homes are to become part of everyday life, government and businesses have a duty to prove to the public that every precaution has been taken to safeguard and protect human life.

About SQS Software Quality Systems

SQS is the world’s leading specialist in software quality. We provide end-to-end quality services. SQS consultants identify and mitigate business risk in technology led transformations utilising standardised methodology, industrialised automation solutions, global delivery and deep domain knowledge across multiple industries. Through our specialisation, we provide the objectivity, which delivers certainty.

Headquartered in Cologne, Germany, the company now employs approximately 4,500 staff. SQS has offices in Germany, the UK, Australia, Egypt, Finland, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, the UAE and the US. In addition, SQS maintains a minority stake in a company in Portugal. In 2016, SQS generated revenues of €327.1 million.

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