Artificial intelligence may be all the rage, but the majority of Americans view the technology as an existential threat to humanity.
AI is one of the most controversial developments in the tech industry, with some lauding it as having the potential to save mankind and others warning it could end humanity. Some of the industry’s biggest names recently signed an open letter calling on companies to pause large-scale AI experiments until safeguards could be agreed upon.
According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, “61% of respondents believe that AI poses risks to humanity, while only 22% disagreed, and 17% remained unsure.”
“It’s telling such a broad swath of Americans worry about the negative effects of AI,” said Landon Klein, director of U.S. policy of the Future of Life Institute, the organization behind the above-mentioned open letter. “We view the current moment similar to the beginning of the nuclear era, and we have the benefit of public perception that is consistent with the need to take action.”
Some in the tech industry say people need to remember why the industry is developing AI in the first place.
“The concerns are very legitimate, but I think what’s missing in the dialogue in general is why are we doing this in the first place?” Sebastian Thrun, a computer science professor at Stanford and founder of Google X told Reuters. “AI will raise peoples’ quality of life, and help people be more competent and more efficient.”