about the past For a year or so, you’ve probably been having conversations with friends, family, and co-workers about the rise of generative AI capable of creating compelling text and images, but perhaps also about the hype and fear surrounding this technology. A survey released this week reveals that concern about the harmful effects of AI is outweighing surprise about useful AI.
Most Americans say their concern about artificial intelligence in everyday life outweighs their enthusiasm, a study finds. Pew Research Center Survey of more than 11,000 American adults. The results come at a time when more and more people are paying attention to AI news in their daily lives. Pew has conducted this survey twice before and reports that the number of people more concerned than excited about AI rose from 37 percent in 2021 to 52 percent this month.
The balance of concern and enthusiasm that people reported varied across the different AI use cases.
When asked how they felt about police using AI for public safety, about half of those surveyed said they weren’t sure, with the rest evenly split between saying the technology would help or hurt. Many more people believed that AI would help doctors deliver quality care to patients, but people likely had different feelings about some specific applications of medical AI. Many would probably be uncomfortable with a classification algorithm making life and death decisions about who gets what treatment.
Pew found the biggest turn to concern about harmful AI when it asked what impact the technology would have on the ability to keep your information private. This fits with how American activists, policy experts, and researchers who want to protect civil rights and hold companies and governments that use AI accountable often call for comprehensive data privacy protections. So far, Congress a privacy and data protection law has not yet been approved.
One impact of AI on daily life that the survey did not ask about is the technology’s potential to help or hurt discrimination. Years of evidence show that artificial intelligence systems can reinforce or amplify racism, sexism, or discrimination against the poor and people who identify as queer. But AI can also detect bias and prevent discrimination. Sennay Ghebreab, director of an AI lab at the University of Amsterdam, told me last year: “I’ve been working on this topic for a decade, and while it can be harmful to people, AI presents an opportunity to uncover hidden biases. in society.”
The Pew findings raise the question of how people who don’t work in AI can retain some sense of autonomy as the technology becomes more visible and powerful. I was struck by comments earlier this month from former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who at a recent event at Stanford on AI described meeting a group of students from Latin America who told her that AI feels like something is happening. to them rather than the technology in which they are playing a role in shaping it.
That sentiment, Rice said, may be more pronounced for people outside of China, Europe and the United States. But many people in those countries feel they don’t have enough agency in their own lives. And even people active in the fight against AI that enables human rights abuses. You may feel helpless or lose hope..