Poll: 61% of Americans say AI threatens humanity’s future


Enlarge / An AI-generated picture of “actual area invaders” threatening the earth.


A majority of People consider that the rise of synthetic intelligence expertise might put humanity’s future in jeopardy, in keeping with a Reuters/Ipsos poll printed on Wednesday. The ballot discovered that over two-thirds of respondents are anxious concerning the adversarial results of AI, whereas 61 % contemplate it a possible menace to civilization.

The web ballot, carried out from Might 9 to Might 15, sampled the opinions of 4,415 US adults. It has a credibility interval (a measure of accuracy) of plus or minus two proportion factors.

The ballot outcomes come amid the enlargement of generative AI use in training, authorities, drugs, and enterprise, triggered partially by the explosive progress of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which is reportedly the fastest-growing software program software of all time. The appliance’s success has set off a expertise hype race amongst tech giants comparable to Microsoft and Google, which stand to profit from having one thing new and buzzy to doubtlessly increase their share costs.

Fears about AI, justified or not, have been rumbling by means of the general public discourse currently as a result of high-profile occasions such because the “AI pause” letter and Geoffery Hinton resigning from Google. In a latest high-profile case of AI apprehension, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman testified before US Congress on Tuesday, expressing his considerations concerning the potential misuse of AI expertise and calling for regulation that, according to critics, might assist his agency retain its technological lead and suppress competitors.

Lawmakers appear to share a few of these considerations, with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) observing, “There is not any approach to put this genie within the bottle. Globally, that is exploding,” Reuters reported.

This adverse scare messaging appears to be having an impression. People’ fears over AI’s potential for hurt far outweigh optimism about its advantages, with these predicting adversarial outcomes outnumbering those that do not by three to at least one. “In keeping with the info, 61% of respondents consider that AI poses dangers to humanity, whereas solely 22% disagreed, and 17% remained uncertain,” wrote Reuters.

The ballot additionally revealed a political divide in perceptions of AI, with 70 % of Donald Trump voters expressing larger concern about AI versus 60 % of Joe Biden voters. Relating to spiritual beliefs, evangelical Christians had been extra prone to “strongly agree” that AI poses dangers to human civilization, at 32 %, in comparison with 24 % of non-evangelical Christians.

Reuters reached out to Landon Klein, director of US coverage of the Way forward for Life Institute, which authored the open letter that requested for a six-month pause in AI analysis of techniques “extra highly effective” than GPT-4. “It is telling such a broad swatch of People fear concerning the adverse results of AI,” Klein mentioned. “We view the present second just like the start of the nuclear period, and we get pleasure from public notion that’s in keeping with the necessity to take motion.”

In the meantime, one other group of AI researchers led by Timnit Gebru, Emily M. Bender, and Margaret Mitchell (three authors of a widely cited critical paper on giant language fashions) say that whereas AI techniques are certainly doubtlessly dangerous, the prevalent fear about AI-powered apocalypse is misguided. They prefer to focus as an alternative on “transparency, accountability, and stopping exploitative labor practices.”

One other subject with the ballot is that AI is a nebulous time period that always means various things to totally different folks. Virtually all People now use “AI” (and software program instruments as soon as thought-about “AI”) in our everyday lives with out a lot discover or fanfare, and it is unclear if the Reuters/Ipsos ballot made any try to make that kind of distinction for its respondents. We didn’t have entry to the ballot methodology or uncooked ballot outcomes at press time.

Alongside these traces, Reuters quoted Ion Stoica, a UC Berkeley professor and co-founder of AI firm Anyscale, mentioning this potential contradiction. “People might not understand how pervasive AI already is of their each day lives, each at dwelling and at work,” he mentioned.

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