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Anxiety about artificial intelligence

by 11 September 2023No Comments

Anxiety towards of artificial intelligence

The topic of artificial intelligence (AI) has become an increasingly debated issue in different areas of our lives. Despite the enormous opportunities offered by AI, a growing number of people are expressing concerns about its social and personal impact. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center in the United States highlights that public anxiety about artificial intelligence has exceeded enthusiasm for its potential.

The Pew Research Center Survey: A Shift in Mindset

This survey of more than 11,000 US adults revealed that 52% is more concerned than enthusiastic about adopting AI-powered technologies. The figure is up compared to the 37% of 2021, signaling a clear trend towards a change in public perception. The research comes at a critical time, when discussions about artificial intelligence are becoming increasingly frequent among both industry experts and the general population.

AI and Public Safety: A Divided Debate

A particularly sensitive point touched on by the survey is the use of artificial intelligence in public safety contexts. About half of those interviewed said they had no clear opinion on this issue. The remainder are evenly divided between those who see AI as a potential threat and those who consider it a useful tool for improving police operations.

AI in the Healthcare Sector: Opportunities and Concerns

Another field where artificial intelligence has been greeted with a mixture of enthusiasm and concern is healthcare. While the technology promises to support doctors in providing more accurate diagnoses and more effective treatments, it raises legitimate concerns about its ability to make decisions that could have serious, even lethal, implications for patients.

Privacy and Security: Top Concerns

Beyond the various application areas, general concerns mainly concern the security of personal information and privacy. Such fears are in line with growing calls from activists, policy experts and researchers for greater oversight and accountability from companies and governments that implement AI.

AI and the Problem of Discrimination

The survey did not explore the topic of discrimination in depth. However, numerous studies have shown how AI systems can reinforce or even amplify existing biases based on race, gender, or economic status. Conversely, AI can also be used as a tool to identify and mitigate these biases.

Maintaining Autonomy in an Age Dominated by AI

An emerging concern is how to maintain a sense of autonomy in a world increasingly dominated by artificial intelligence. Some, such as former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have observed that there is a widespread sense of being subjected to technology, rather than shaping it, especially outside major technology centers such as the United States, Europe and China.

How to Gain Greater Control over Artificial Intelligence

Despite the concerns, there are ways to exert greater control over AI. For example, it is important to understand the economic motivations behind narratives surrounding “superintelligence” and artificial general intelligence. Furthermore, it is crucial that discussions about the impact of AI in society become more inclusive, involving not only technology companies and governments, but also the general public.

Looking to the Past to Understand the Future

Lessons from the past demonstrate that doomsday predictions about AI can be wrong and that regulation can actually work in society's favor. For example, while some feared mass unemployment due to automation, this scenario did not materialize.

In conclusion, it is essential to take a balanced approach towards artificial intelligence, viewing it neither as a panacea nor as an inevitable threat, but as a powerful tool that can be shaped to serve human interests. As Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott said, understanding the impact of AI is part of “21st century citizenship.”

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