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People in the Nordics are worried about the development of AI – personal data processing a major concern

Despite the many advantages artificial intelligence (AI) bring, Nordic consumers are concerned about how the technology is used today. More than eight out of ten (85 per cent) say that they are worried about the development of AI and only six per cent state that they are not worried at all. At the same time, an overwhelming majority (80 per cent) state that development should be regulated to some extent. This is revealed in a survey by Tieto that was carried out with help of the research firm Yo


The biggest concern about letting AI handle personal data is linked to a fear of it being misused (55 per cent state this), used for wrong and immoral purposes (46 per cent), used in an unsafe way (49 per cent), or that misinterpretations can occur (53 per cent).

Christian Guttmann, Global head of AI and Data Science at Tieto, understands Nordic consumers’ concerns and believes that organizations must take these concerns seriously during their digital and AI transformation journey.

“We know that it takes time to build confidence in new technologies and especially AI are today associated with something unfamiliar and negative. It is therefore essential to highlight the positive aspects of AI and the many benefits it enables, from speeding up health diagnoses to creating better everyday experiences. As a company, we also recognize that trust must be earned and that we must create AI solutions that are ethical and responsibly developed with a high degree of transparency and security. Trust in technology is essential for our society to fully benefit from AI and data-driven solutions, and we are the Nordic company that has solid experience in this emerging enterprise industry”, says Christian Guttmann.

Many see the need for regulations and 80 per cent think that the government in respective country should regulate the development and use of AI to some degree. 86 per cent also believe that companies that develop and use AI should be bound by ethical guidelines and regulations to some extent.

“We are welcoming that people are sharing their views with us who are developing AI solutions. This must be done in an ethical and responsible way and it is important that we work together within the industry and across borders, to develop standards and guidelines. Several initiatives are already underway, including the EU, which will be valuable in the continued development of AI and, in the long term, can contribute to creating broader trust amongst the public”, says Christian Guttmann.

When asked if the development of AI will lead to better services for consumers and citizens, one in three (30 per cent) agree to a high or very high degree. Only 8 per cent do not believe that statement at all. 48 per cent agree partly or to a small extent.

The survey also shows that more than one in three (37 per cent) state that they do not use services or products that use AI at all. Furthermore, 50 per cent state that they only do so partly or to a very small extent, while only 2 per cent say that they do so to a very high degree.

“Our survey shows that the public generally has poor insight into which extent AI is being used today. What many probably do not know is that, for example, search engines, social networks, mobility services and smartphones today use AI. This can also explain the general skepticism of AI since many of the positive interactions with services that they are using in their everyday life rarely are associated with the technology”, says Christian Guttmann.

About the survey
The survey was conducted by the opinion and market research company YouGov, commissioned by Tieto, in April 2019. In total, 3 659 people over the age of 18 responded to the questions in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Respondents are distributed representatively according to age, gender and geographical location. More information and downloadable report available here:  

Read more about Tieto’s ethical guidelines here:

Tieto’s participation in the European AI Alliance:

Nordic results-from Tieto’s Nordic AI survey

Are you worried about the development of AI and its consequences for humans and society?

  • Not at all                                                       6%
  • To a small extent           19%
  • Partly   34%
  • To a large extent            18%
  • To a very large extent   14%
  • Do not know                   9%

Do you think that companies that are developing new AI solutions should be bound to ethical guidelines and regulations?

  • Not at all                                                       2%
  • To a small extent           2%
  • Partly                                9%
  • To a large extent            18%
  • To a very large extent   56%
  • Do not know                   12%

Do you think that the Swedish/Finnish/Norwegian government/authorities should regulate the development and use of AI?

  • Not at all                                                       6%
  • To a small extent           10%
  • Partly 24%
  • To a large extent            28%
  • To a very large extent   19%
  • Do not know                   14%

Which of the following things are you worried about when it comes to letting an AI manage your personal data? 

  • Misuse of the data         55%                    
  • Wrong interpretations of the data             53%
  • Unreliable security        49%
  • Could be used for bad/evil/undemocratic purposes          46%
  • Making unethical decisions                      41%
  • Loss of control                40%
  • Gaining wrong information                       40%
  • Loss of human contact 34%
  • Could replace jobs currently done by humans                   32%
  • Loss of trust                    24%
  • I’m not at all worried about the development within AI      3%
  • Other   1%
  • Don’t know                      9%

Do you trust private companies’ abilities to address ethical dilemmas that AI brings?

  • Not at all                          16%
  • To a small extent           29%                    
  • Partly   28%
  • To a large extent            9%
  • To a very large extent 3%
  • Do not know                   15%

Do you believe that the use of AI and data can lead to better services and customer experience for citizens/consumers?

  • Not at all                                                       8%
  • To a small extent           16%
  • Partly   32%
  • To a large extent            23%
  • To a very large extent   6%
  • Do not know                   15%

To what extent are you using AI in your everyday life?
For example: Chat bots, smart speakers, voice assistants in phones, self-driving cars, or other services and products that you know are utilising AI

  • Not at all                                                       37%
  • To a small extent           33%
  • Partly   17%
  • To a large extent            4%
  • To a very large extent   2%
  • Do not know                   8%

Tieto aims to capture the significant opportunities of the data-driven world and turn them into lifelong value for people, business and society. We aim to be customers’ first choice for business renewal by combining our software and services capabilities with a strong drive for co-innovation and ecosystems.

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