Americans have grown more worried about AI in the last nine months. A new survey from the Pew Research Center indicates 52 percent of respondents are more concerned than excited about rising artificial intelligence use, up 14 points since December. Meanwhile, only 10 percent say they’re more excited than worried, while another 36 percent described their views as equally balanced. “Concern about AI outweighs excitement across all major demographic groups,” the Pew Research Center wrote in a blog post today.
It’s been an eventful nine months since the Pew Center last surveyed people about AI. OpenAI’s ChatGPT went from a buzzed-about homework cheating tool to a household name, and the corporate world — including tech’s most prominent companies — raced to prove who was the most invested in generative AI. Microsoft plugged GPT-4 into Office and Windows, and Google launched its Bard chatbot while adding AI components to search. AI writing and generative art have made controversial (and widely covered in the media) entries into journalism, book writing, song production and even some political campaigns.
Although younger Americans are still more concerned than excited, their views tend to be more positive than their older counterparts. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 42 percent are more concerned about “the growing use of AI in daily life,” and 17 percent are more excited. But among adults 65 and up, 61 percent say they’re primarily concerned, while excitement only outweighs concern for a mere four percent.
Pew Research also polled respondents on awareness of AI, and it appears the more people have heard about its rising adoption, the more uneasy they feel. The polling reports that about 90 percent of adults have heard a lot (33 percent) or a little (56 percent) about artificial intelligence, with the “a lot” group growing by seven points since December. Those who have heard much about AI are more likely to be worried than in December: Anxiety outweighs enthusiasm (47 percent to 15 percent) among that demographic, compared to 31 percent concerned to 23 percent excited last year. Even those who have only heard a little about it describe a more negative view than respondents in the December poll — by 19 points.