Global study on trust & tech: Canadians twice as likely to trust a robot to perform open heart surgery than to open a bank account for them

  • 87% of Canadians own a smartphone – the smallest percentage across all 11 markets surveyed
  • 7% of Canadians believe money transfers via brain signals will be available in the next year
  • Complete Canada report available at  

VANCOUVER, May 24, 2017 /CNW/ - People in Asia and the Middle East are more optimistic about the positive impact of technology and as a result more likely to place trust in new technologies compared to their western counterparts, a multinational survey from HSBC has found. Of note, just over half (56%) of Canadians say they believe that advances in technology will make the world a better place – the second least likely of all markets surveyed – compared 89% of respondents in China, and 85% in India.

This, according to HSBC's To Trust in Technology report, a new global study based on responses from 12,000 people from 11 countries and territories that explores the level of trust in biometric security, attitudes to radical new financial services, and what people really feel about entrusting our lives to robotic intelligence.

"With each new piece of technology the same fundamental question arises: can it be trusted? Price and availability matter, but nothing is adopted unless the intended user feels able to trust it," said Larry Tomei, Executive Vice President and Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC Bank Canada. "And while those in Canada may be more resistant to change than their eastern counterparts, the research also points to the huge potential of educating people on upcoming and existing technologies as Canadians are amongst the most likely to respond positively to education around biometrics – like touch and voice ID."

Key Findings for Canada:

  1. Getting touchy about tech: The accelerated adoption of fingerprint recognition, a widespread consumer technology, highlights the contrasting perspectives of east vs. west. The Chinese (40%) are the highest adopters of the technology, with India (31%), and the UAE (25%) second and third globally. At the other end of the scale, just 14% of people in Canadathe lowest across all markets surveyed – have used fingerprint technology to identify themselves. 

  2. Blink once for savings, blink twice for chequing? Two thirds of people globally think money transfers via brain signals will be available in the future. Further, 8% of people in France, 7% in Canada, and 5% in Germany say they think that technology enabling brain signals to transfer money will be available in the next year. In the East, 20% of people in India and 15% of people in China, and 13% in Singapore think that this technology will be available within the year.

  3. Technology-shmeckmology? Canada is one of the less positive nations towards innovation, with only 56% of respondents believing that advances in technology will make the world a better place (global average: 74%). In fact, uptake of smartphones is the lowest in study, with only 87% ownership. Conversely, respondents in Canada were among the most likely to put their trust in human to human relationships. Seventy-four per cent will trust a person until it is proven that he/she cannot be trusted. There is also a strong level of trust in the self – 80% of people trust themselves to make the right decisions.

  4. Siri, Alexa: what's my investment risk tolerance? China (44%) and India (38%) are the most likely globally to trust robo-advisors. In contrast, just 7% in Canada, 6% in Germany and 9% in the UK are likely to trust recommendations based on AI algorithms. Further, 36% of people in China would use a chatbot to receive money advice, compared with 8% in Canada, 6% in Germany and only 8% in UK.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Trust in Technology looks at global technology perceptions and habits.  Conducted independently and commissioned by HSBC, it provides authoritative insights into people's perceptions of technology, their current uses and how they expect to use digital services in the future, around the world.  

    The research represents the views of 12,019 people from 11 countries and territories: Canada (1,001), China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Singapore, The United Arab Emirates, UK and USA.

    Populus conducted qualitative research in March and April with 66 members of an online community, including six members from each of the 11 nations, and all respondents answered all questions. Populus also consulted twice with a panel of experts to research in-depth opinions and expertise on the topic.

    Ipsos MORI conducted quantitative research with over 12,000 participants in total. 2,000 of those participants were from the UK and 1,000 participants came from each of the remaining countries. The quantitative findings are based on an online nationally representative sample of people of aged 18 and over in each country, and was conducted from 24th March to 10th April 2017.

  2. HSBC Bank Canada, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, is the leading international bank in the country. We help companies and individuals across Canada to do business and manage their finances internationally through three global business lines: Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Retail Banking and Wealth Management.

    HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 4,000 offices in 70 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,416bn at 31 March 2017, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organizations.

For more information visit or follow us on Twitter: @hsbc_ca or Facebook: @HSBCCanada


For further information: Media enquiries: Aurora Bonin, (604) 641-1905,; Sharon Wilks, (416) 868-3878,


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