From movie recommendations to routine customer service inquiries, Americans now rely on artificial intelligence to inform consumer choices, but new research from consumer and societal solutions firm MITRE on AI trends finds that less than half (48 percent) believe AI is safe and secure, while a significant majority (78 percent) are very or somewhat concerned that AI can be used for malicious intent.
The MITRE-Harris Poll Survey on AI Trends, conducted by The Harris Poll, also finds that most people express reservations about AI for high-value applications such as autonomous vehicles, accessing government benefits, or healthcare.
“Artificial intelligence technology and frameworks could radically boost efficiency and productivity in many fields,” said Douglas Robbins, MITRE vice president, engineering and prototyping, in a news release. “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 percent of Americans—and a whopping 91 percent of tech experts—support government regulation. Further, 70 percent of Americans—and 92 percent 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,” said Rob Jekielek, managing director, Harris Poll, in the release. “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 percent) would be comfortable having an AI-based online chat for routine medical questions.
- Only 49 percent 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, including advanced modeling capabilities for AI assurance to address the complicated effect of a promising technology’s potential impact on systems and society. The firm participates in several joint collaborations, including membership in the Partnership for AI and Generation AI Consortium.
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.