New evidence on popular perception of “AI” risk

The Mozilla Foun­da­tion re­cently con­ducted a sur­vey about AI per­cep­tion. I par­ti­ci­pated af­ter re­ceiv­ing an email in­vi­ta­tion; I don’t know if they re­cruited el­se­where. They just re­leased a writeup of the re­sults to­day, which can be found here.

Mozilla seems to take a broad view of “AI”, with a lot of weight given to cur­rent and near-term is­sues and less to po­ten­tial fate-of-hu­man­ity is­sues. This is, of course, a differ­ent per­spec­tive from many in the LW crowd.

The pop­u­lar per­cep­tion is nonethe­less po­ten­tially rele­vant to AI safety be­cause it may rep­re­sent the per­cep­tion of some AI ca­pa­bil­ities re­searchers. It may also be rele­vant to pre­dict­ing poli­ti­cal in­ter­ven­tion in AI re­search.

High­lights:

  • 51k sam­ple size, 67k in­clud­ing par­tial sub­mis­sions (see pdf linked from writeup)

  • over­all, re­spon­dents were op­ti­mistic (i.e. not es­pe­cially wor­ried about risks)

  • most op­ti­mistic de­mo­graph­ics were 19-24 years old, male, South Americans

  • only 10% self-re­ported be­ing “well-ed­u­cated” about AI, only 4% un­fa­mil­iar with term “AI”

  • re­spon­dents gen­er­ally in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about AI

From link:

“24% of re­spon­dents said AI will make our lives bet­ter. 41% of re­spon­dents think AI will make our lives both bet­ter and worse. Only 10% of re­spon­dents think AI will only make our lives worse”

″ Men (27%) are al­most twice as op­ti­mistic as women (14%) that AI will make our lives bet­ter. Nearly half of South Amer­i­cans (46%) are op­ti­mistic that AI is go­ing to make their world bet­ter, mak­ing them the most pos­i­tive re­gion in the world. And young peo­ple 19 − 24 years old (35%) were the most likely age group to say AI will make the world bet­ter. Only 5% of this age group said they thought AI would make the world worse. ”

  • “Re­spon­dents aged 19 − 44 were most likely to be “very in­ter­ested” in learn­ing more about AI (52%).

  • Re­spon­dents 65 and over were most likely to say they are some­what in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about AI (64%)

  • South Amer­i­cans (61%) and Afri­cans (63%) said they were most in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about AI.”

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