Parents of Generation Alpha Say They Trust AI to Keep Their Children Healthy

IEEE survey shows they’re comfortable with health trackers and surgery robots, particularly in Asia

27 July 2018

Although we often hear about the tech-savvy intelligence of today’s youth, a pressing concern for many parents is just how much artificial intelligence technologies will impact their everyday life. In “Generation AI 2018,” a study of millennial parents of Generation Alpha kids, IEEE explored the parents’ attitudes about health care–related AI applications.

The study surveyed 2,000 parents between the ages of 20 and 36 in Brazil, China, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States who had at least one child 8 years old or younger. That group is known as Generation Alpha—those born between 2010 and 2025.

Here’s an overview of what the parents said about various applications.

HEALTH MONITORING AND DATA TRACKING

A third of parents said they would be comfortable letting their teenagers use health-monitoring wearables. More than half (58 percent) said they would even let a child younger than 5 wear one.

AI-enabled technologies are expected to help with a variety of monitoring tasks such as setting alerts to take medications or to exercise, as well as reminders of upcoming appointments. Parents expressed confidence that such real-time, round-the-clock monitoring will become routine. That’s especially true for those living in China and India, where nearly 90 percent said the practice will be commonplace. In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, only 55 percent agreed.

FASTER DIAGNOSIS

Chatbots and facial recognition can increasingly be used to analyze a patient’s condition based on data about symptoms, medical history, and other circumstances. More than 80 percent of parents in China and India said they would have a great deal of confidence in the results of AI diagnoses and treatments for their sick child. Only about half of U.K. and U.S. parents feel that way, however.

When asked whether they would trust doctors using data from AI to make life-or-death decisions regarding their children, 51 percent of parents in India said yes, compared with one-third of those in Brazil, China, and the United States.

ROBOT SURGEONS

Surgical robots powered by AI are bringing new innovations and accuracy to the operating room. More than 80 percent of parents in China and 78 percent in India said they would be very likely to allow such robots to operate on their children. Only 45 percent of those in the United Kingdom and United States said they would do so.

To review the survey data, visit IEEE Transmitter.

Tardo is senior manager in the IEEE External Communications and Public Visibility department. 

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