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Germans are reluctant to engage with intelligent assistants

Remote work, language assistants and collaborative robots are all doggedly creeping up on us. Most people in Germany view these developments in the professional world with a degree of skepticism.

24 Feb. 2018
Eduard Heilmayr
Germans are reluctant to engage with intelligent assistants (Foto: Initiative D21 e.V.)

These were the findings of the 2017/2018 D21-Digital-Index . The Initiative D21 has been summarizing the state of digitization in society since 2013. The latest edition also investigated the acceptance and use of intelligent devices. This shows that trends and reality often vary a great deal. Only one sixth of those employed in Germany work remotely or in a home office environment (at least some of the time). It is against this background that the authors proclaim a ‘split in society’: “It is mostly the 30 to 49-year-olds who are supplied with the corresponding devices and technical access from their employers - men benefit two to three times more often than women do from these.”

21% of those surveyed said they felt they could explain the term Industry 4.0 – this is also where this discrepancy between women (12%) and men (31%) is at its greatest; and that is actually seven percentage points more than in the previous survey, while a self-proclaimed ability to explain keywords such as ‘dark net’ even went up a full 51% in comparison. Smart Meter is the taillight of familiarity.

The majority of people are acting cautiously regarding the use of intelligent products, machines, software and robots and ticking the box marked “Don’t quite feel comfortable”. In the case of Cobots, that is a full 50% – while the majority of those surveyed do not yet have any personal experience in this area. Digital assistants such as Amazon Echo etc., which a greater number of people have already experienced hands-on, were met with 15% approval, while here too, 47% said they felt uncomfortable. It should be expected that acceptance will increase on its own accord with time, since the upcoming generation (those from 14 to 29 years of age) is generally significantly more open to intelligent devices.