May 21, 2018

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are propelling development in many parts of the world. There are new applications in finance, healthcare, transportation, national security, criminal justice, and smart cities. Yet as the same time, there are questions about negative impacts on jobs and personal privacy, whether the government should regulate AI, and how the United States is faring compared to other countries.

To examine attitudes towards AI, researchers at the Brookings Institution undertook an online national survey of 1,535 adult Internet users between May 9 and May 11, 2018. It was overseen by Darrell M. West, vice president of Governance Studies and director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution and the author of The Future of Work:  Robots, AI, and Automation. Responses were weighted using gender, age, and region to match the demographics of the national internet population as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (for more information on the survey, see https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2018/05/21/brookings-survey-finds-worries-over-ai-impact-on-jobs-and-personal-privacy-concern-u-s-will-fall-behind-china/).

When asked about the employment impact, 12 percent indicated they thought artificial intelligence would create jobs, 13 percent believed it would have no effect on jobs, 38 percent said it would reduce jobs, and 37 percent didn’t know or gave no answer. Men (42 percent) were more likely than women (34 percent) to say AI will reduce jobs.

Only 5 percent said they expect artificial intelligence to increase personal privacy, 12 percent felt it would have no effect on personal privacy, 49 percent claim it would reduce personal privacy, and 34 percent didn’t know or gave no answer. Males (54 percent) were more likely than women (44 percent) to believe AI would reduce privacy.

The survey inquired about people’s views about government regulation. Forty-two percent said they think the government should regulate artificial intelligence, 17 percent indicated they did not want it to regulate artificial intelligence, and 41 percent didn’t know or gave no answer. Men (48 percent) were more likely than women (37 percent) to support government regulation. The same was true for those aged 35 to 44 years old and people living in the Northeast.

Twenty-one percent believe the United States is the leading country when it comes to artificial intelligence. This is followed by 19 percent who think Japan, 15 percent who say China, 4 percent South Korea, 4 percent Russia, 2 percent Europe, and 35 percent didn’t know or gave no answer. Yet there are concerns that the United States may fall behind China, which has committed $150 billion towards its goal of becoming a world leader by 2030. When asked which nation would be the leader in 10 years, 21 percent say the United States, followed by 20 percent who expect China, 14 percent Japan, 4 percent Russia, 3 percent South Korea, 3 percent Europe, and 35 percent didn’t know or gave no answer.

For the full report on the survey, see https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2018/05/21/brookings-survey-finds-worries-over-ai-impact-on-jobs-and-personal-privacy-concern-u-s-will-fall-behind-china/

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