U.S. Public Opinion about Artificial Intelligence: Declining Support for Development and Divided Views on Facial Recognition
Department of Communication, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
A national survey supervised by researchers at the University of Delaware finds that the American public holds favorable views on artificial intelligence but also worries about its implications. This study, conducted in fall 2020, re-interviewed 1,205 respondents who took part in a March 2020 survey supervised by the same research team. Public opinion about AI was largely stable across the two waves of the study. The new survey found that most Americans favor regulating the technology, a majority support developing it, a plurality favor public funding for it, and few support banning it. However, support for developing AI has declined by 7 percentage points. The new survey also found ongoing support for AI uses involving military drones and diagnosing diseases. Opinions are more divided on self-driving vehicles, and support for facial identification applications has eroded. Americans remain split on whether AI will have mostly positive or mixed effects on society, though only a small percentage believe the technology will do more harm than good. Most Americans continue to say they are hopeful that AI will create jobs, improve health care, help stop harmful content online, prevent terrorism, catch criminals, and make day-to-day life easier. Yet some of these hopes have faded. Moreover, large majorities are still worried that AI will eliminate jobs, invade people’s privacy, help spread harmful content online, and enable cyber-attacks. More than half of Americans say they worry that AI may eventually pose a threat to the existence of the human race. The survey results show that the public trusts university researchers, the U.S. military, and technology companies to develop and use AI. Meanwhile, fewer than one in three Americans trusts the government in Washington to do so. Most Americans support law enforcement agencies using facial recognition technology to identify suspected criminals. However, public opinion is divided on whether law enforcement agencies should use facial recognition technology to monitor public protests.
Public opinion , Artificial intelligence (AI) , Media