Monmouth University Poll NATIONAL: THE GOOD AND MOSTLY BAD ...

Apr 20, 2015 - likely than those with some college background (45%) to be worried ... technology a great deal in their everyday lives (36%) are less likely than ...
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Monmouth University Poll West Long Branch, NJ 07764     Follow on Twitter: @MonmouthPoll _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CONTACTS: For commentary on poll results and A.I. technology: Dr. RICHARD SCHERL, Associate Professor of Computer Science 732-571-4457 (office) [email protected] For information on poll results and methodology: PATRICK MURRAY, Monmouth University Polling Institute 732-979-6769 (cell); 732-263-5858 (office) [email protected] Twitter: @PollsterPatrick  

Released: Monday, April 20, 2015

NATIONAL: THE GOOD AND MOSTLY BAD OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE Many Americans worried about threats to jobs, quality of life Artificial Intelligence – the wave of the future or the end of human civilization? Many Americans are not sure according to the latest national Monmouth University Poll. Majorities feel that machines with artificial intelligence will negatively impact jobs and won’t do much to improve our overall quality of life – even though many say they already rely on technology in their daily lives and a majority own a smart device with voice recognition applications. Fully 7-in-10 Americans (70%) have heard the term “Artificial Intelligence” – or “A.I.” – although only 12% say they have heard a lot about recent developments in the ability of computers and machines to carry out decision-making thought processes similar to humans. A plurality of Americans (43%) say they believe scientists’ ability to develop A.I. computers would do equal amounts of harm and good for society. However, a similar number (42%) believe they would actually do more harm overall – which is four times the number who say they would actually do more good than harm (11%). This finding is slightly more pessimistic than a generation ago. When this same question was asked in 1987 by Cambridge Reports, 29% of Americans said A.I. would do equal amounts of harm and good, 39% said it would do more harm and 20% said it would do more good. “Like any technology, A.I. can lead to both positive and negative results. Those who are concerned about the negative consequences of A.I. should keep in mind that although significant results


Monmouth University Polling Institute 4/20/15

have been obtained by researchers, there is still a huge gap between what machines can do and humanlevel intelligence,” said Dr. Richard Scherl, associate professor of computer science at Monmouth University whose research area is artificial intelligence, with a focus on knowledge representation and reasoning. The poll asked Americans how worried they are that artificially intelligent machines could one day pose a risk to the human race’s existence. A majority say they are not at all (27%) or not too (28%) worried about this risk, but a sizeable minority are concerned – including 16% who are very worried and another 28% who are somewhat worried. Those with a high school education or less (54%) are more likely than those with some college background (45%) to be worried about AI’s impact on humanity, while college graduates (28%) are much less likely to fret over this scenario. Those who rely on technology a great deal in their everyday lives (36%) are less likely than those who rely on it only somewhat (46%), not much (51%), or not at all (56%) to be concerned about the risks of A.I. to humanity. Interestingly, there are no substantial differences in this finding based on how much respondents have heard about recent A.I. developments. Nearly 3-in-4 (72%) Americans feel having machines with the ability to think for themselves would hurt jobs and the economy, while just 19% think they would help. A smaller majority (54%) say that artificially intelligent machines would also hurt human