Who's afraid of AI?

July 3, 2017 | 00:00
Who's afraid of AI?
Who's afraid of AI?
The idea of Artificial Intelligence or AI is probably as old as modern man, but, according to our trustworthy friend Wikipedia, the field of AI research was born at Dartmouth College in 1956. Earlier attempts on what we now call AI concerned mainly machines capable of executing mathematical operations. Since a few years AI research is booming thanks to the developments in cloud computing and smart devices, and the time has come for a survey to find out what the “common” people knows about AI and how they feel about it.

The survey, conducted by Northstar on behalf of ARM, included almost 4,000 people with at least some degree of knowledge of AI. Furthermore, participants who thought that AI will never have an impact were filtered out, leaving us with a non-representative sample of the population. Questions asked concerned subjects like quality of life, employment, fields of application, and privacy.

61% of the respondents thought that AI will make our society better, while intelligent traffic light systems came in second as most appealing application of AI (behind medical, which reminded me of a local council meeting where hell broke loose when the subject of potholes and speed bumps came up and a tired counsellor sighed that this happened all the time, everywhere).

Another interesting outcome is that Asian people seem to be much more open towards AI than Europeans, and, less surprising, younger people feel more positive about AI than older respondents. Combined this shows that people who have grown up with modern technology are less concerned about AI, illustrating once more how people tend to be afraid of what they don't know.
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