PEW Research - Public Awareness of AI Research Findings, Feb 2023

PEW Research - Public Awareness of AI Research Findings, Feb 2023

Posted by Scott Phillips on 19th Feb 2023

The Pew Research Center just released a new report on American public awareness of AI in their daily lives. The survey found relatively high awareness of common examples of narrow AI applications in use today.  But on the question of whether people are more concerned or excited, just 15% of Americans are more excited about AI than concerned.  Food for thought for the industry.

Here is the graphic from their report on awareness of common AI use cases across the American public.

These findings suggest people have a relatively decent understanding of specific AI applications.

The graphic on levels of excitement vs. concern is a bit more interesting.  Here is that picture.

The surprise here is that even people with a high level of awareness of AI are more concerned than excited.  A massive share of the public, nearly 50%, are ambivalent (equally concerned and excited).  What this may mean is that public perception of AI could change very fast and the swing could be very large towards either positive or negative.  

Many of the benefits of narrow, everyday AI applications can be very positive.  There are a few (social media reinforcing of extreme content) that are not.  What seems to be missing is some form of framework for the public to weigh out the good and bad when it comes to AI's impact on our daily lives.   

This report suggests both a need to develop a positive public narrative on AI, but also a framework for weighing up the puts and takes that can help people make a decision about how excited or concerned they are on their own.  People have reasonable concerns, but they don't have a lot of insight on what the benefits might be to provide a counterweight.  The industry has largely failed to craft a narrative that is positive for the public or develop a framework to help them decide for themselves.

Read the report yourself at: