Survey finds that most Americans want artificial intelligence to be regulated
McLean, Va., and Bedford, Mass., Feb. 9, 2023—While Americans rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to inform consumer choices—from movie recommendations to routine customer service inquiries—the MITRE-Harris Poll survey on AI trends finds that most Americans express reservations about AI for high-value applications such as autonomous vehicles, accessing government benefits, or healthcare. Moreover, only 48% believe AI is safe and secure, and 78% are very or somewhat concerned that AI can be used for malicious intent.
“Artificial intelligence technology and frameworks could radically boost efficiency and productivity in many fields,” said Douglas Robbins, MITRE vice president, engineering and prototyping. “It can enable better, faster analysis of imagery in fields ranging from medicine to national security. And it can replace dull, dirty, and dangerous jobs.
“But if the public doesn’t trust AI, adoption may be mostly limited to less important tasks like recommendations on streaming services or contacting a call center in the search for a human. This is why we are working with government and industry on whole-of-nation solutions to boost assurance and help inform regulatory frameworks to enhance AI assurance.”
Given the uncertainty around AI, it’s not surprising that 82% of Americans and 91% of tech experts support government regulation. Further, 70% of Americans and 92% of tech experts agree that there is a need for industry to invest more in AI assurance measures to protect the public.
“While we see differences by gender, ethnicity, and generations in acceptance of AI for both everyday and consequential uses, there remains concern about AI across all demographic groups,” explains Rob Jekielek, managing director, Harris Poll. “Men, Democrats, younger generations, and Black/Hispanic Americans, however, are more comfortable than their counterparts with the use of AI for federal government benefits processing, online doctor bots, and autonomous, unmanned rideshare vehicles.”
Other key findings include:
- Three-quarters of Americans are concerned about deepfakes and other AI-generated content.
- Less than half (49%) would be comfortable having an AI-based online chat for routine medical questions.
- Only 49% would be comfortable with the federal government using AI to assist benefits processing.
MITRE is collaborating with partners throughout the AI ecosystem to enable responsible pioneering in AI to better impact society. MITRE’s work in this area includes advanced modeling capabilities for AI assurance to address the complicated effect of a promising technology’s potential impact on systems and society. MITRE participates in several joint collaborations, including membership in the Partnership for AI and Generation AI Consortium. In healthcare, MITRE is co-leading the Coalition for Health AI, which is developing a consensus-driven framework for the adoption of credible, fair, and transparent AI.
This survey was conducted online within the United States November 3–7, 2022, among 2,050 adults (ages 18 and over) by The Harris Poll via its Harris On Demand omnibus product on behalf of MITRE. Tech experts were surveyed in October 2022.
About The Harris Poll
The Harris Poll is one of the longest-running surveys in the U.S., tracking public opinion, motivations, and social sentiment since 1963, and is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational times. We work with clients in three primary areas: building 21st century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and guidance to help leaders make the best decisions possible. To learn more, please visit www.theharrispoll.com.
MITRE’s mission-driven teams are dedicated to solving problems for a safer world. Through our public-private partnerships and federally funded R&D centers, we work across government and in partnership with industry to tackle challenges to the safety, stability, and well-being of our nation.
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