Survey: 43 percent of smartphone users interested in AI-powered medical advisor

By Aditi Pai

Some 43 percent of consumers said using artificial intelligence to create a personal medical advisor would be a good idea, according to Ericsson's annual Hot Consumer Trends Survey of  6,649 iOS and Android urban smartphone users in cities around the world. The company's annual survey asks consumers for their take on futuristic scenarios. For example, last year one of the survey categories was "mind sharing" and this year another, focused on invasive connected devices, is internables.

Ericsson asked consumers to choose which artificial intelligence use cases they think would be useful from a list. Four options, including search engine, travel guide, personal assistant, and teacher, ranked higher than medical advisor. The only two that were less popular than medical advisor were financial advisor and an AI that provides companionship.

Perhaps the boldest prediction to emerge from the survey findings: About half of consumers said that smartphones will be "a thing of the past" within the next five years.

The survey also questioned respondents about health tracking.

"Consumers today enjoy improving their physical wellbeing, while monitoring and quantifying their progress using wearable devices," the report reads. "However, wearing these devices can be aesthethically unattractive and sometimes impractical, getting in the way of performing everyday tasks. Judging by consumer interest, the next generation of body-monitoring technology may not be worn, but may instead be found within the human body."

When asked about internal sensors, about 50 percent of respondents said internal sensors will able to provide them with health-related updates in three years. Additionally, 80 percent said impanted wearables may also be able to enhance users' senses. The largest percentage of respondents showed interest in enhanced vision using sensors, followed by memory, hearing, intelligence, and communication capabilities.

The respondents from this survey, aged 15 to 69, are based in Istanbul, Johannesburg, London, Mexico City, Moscow, New York, Paris, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.

In last year's survey, respondents, from urban areas, said wearables that monitor users' stress levels could increase their lifespan, on average, an extra 2 years. The survey also found that  activity tracking wearables will increase users' lives, on average, by 1.9 years.