Emerging Technologies

Artificial Intelligence: These 3 charts show what people really think

A research support officer and PhD student works on his artificial intelligence project to train robots to autonomously carry out various tasks, at the Department of Artificial Intelligence in the Faculty of Information Communication Technology at the University of Malta in Msida, Malta February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi - RC1A65028440

Do you trust AI? Image: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

Emma Charlton
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Emerging Technologies

This article is part of: Annual Meeting of the New Champions

There needs to be greater scrutiny of the use of artificial intelligence, according to a poll of 20,000 people across 27 countries.

While the potential and power of AI to transform our lives is almost universally accepted -and applications can be foreseen in almost all sectors from education to healthcare - there are still hurdles to overcome, such as ethical concerns about how data is stored and used.

Uncomfortable with robots? Image: World Economic Forum poll

Concern about the widespread use of the technology is shared across sex, age, income and educational demographics, according to the poll, which was compiled by polling firm Ipsos for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China.

“Artificial intelligence is one of the most powerful tools we have as a society,” said Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of Artificial Intelligence at the Forum. “But, without a governance structure to provide the guardrails for how we interact with this, we risk leaving large parts of the population behind.”

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Overall, the poll found that more than 40% of respondents were worried about the use of AI, while 32% were undecided and 27% were unconcerned.

Almost half of the people surveyed said companies using AI should be regulated more strictly, while just 20% disagreed. Government adoption of the technology was viewed slightly less sceptically, with 40% of people saying restrictions needed to be tightened.

Do you trust corporations? Image: World Economic Forum poll

The survey highlights broader themes that the Forum’s Expert Network is exploring, as AI becomes increasingly sophisticated. These topics, along with the wider impact of technological innovation on the global economy and society, are being explored by more than 1,800 leaders at the Forum's annual China meeting in the city of Dalian, from 1 July to 3 July.

Governments are seen as slightly more trustworthy Image: World Economic Forum poll
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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Emerging TechnologiesEconomic Growth
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