Exploring Public Attitudes Towards Artificial Intelligence: Insights and Trends

As a data science executive, you already know that part of your role is to keep on top of macro trends. The number of AI tools that are out there right now seems to be increasing on a daily basis. Accordingly, the public attitude towards these tools will also change over time as AI is adopted more and more. That’s why I created the Public Attitudes Towards Artificial Intelligence survey and I’m happy to debut it with you today. I think that this survey creates a multifaceted view into how the public is feeling about artificial intelligence. Here’s some key takeaways from my findings.

Hi, I’m Dennis, and I’m a chief data scientist with more than 20 years of experience working for startups, big banking in big tech. To start looking at the results for my survey, let’s start with the workplace. People are becoming increasingly aware that some of these AI tools are quite powerful. In my study, 42% of respondents expect to be replaced at their job within the next three years, 16% think it will happen in as little as one year. When advising my clients in the past, I have called this the blank screen effect. There are essentially many professions now that should never start a project or any sort of work from a blank screen. Some examples are things like software developers and computer programmers or lawyers or other professions that involve a lot of writing, like say audit professions, both internal and external. There is enough data out there and enough sophistication in the AI tools where they really shouldn’t start with any sort of blank screens anymore. Other professions that already use and good number of tools might see even more advancement. In this case, I’m referring to professions like real estate agents who already have a lot of brief and predetermined forms or doctors that already have quite a few software tools in their workplace. I wanted to make my study wide ranging, so I also included questions on automation, particularly around fully self driving vehicles. Now I must admit that I had to put a part and put aside some of my own bias here.

I’ve been bearish on self driving cars for a long time now. But the public is clearly optimistic on them with 57% of respondents saying that they are or would be comfortable in a fully self driving vehicle. Forty percent of respondents believe that self driving cars will cause less accidents than human driven cars. First, an additional 16% believe that the change will be neutral and these cars will cause no more and no less accidents than what’s currently caused by human driven cars. Now there are counter arguments here because 50% of the survey respondents have also not been in a fully self driving car yet. So this is a question that I’ll be repeating in future studies, perhaps to see if there is some sort of change in the trend over time.

Next, I want to take a look at regulations and oversight around artificial intelligence companies. While this may not be a popular topic among the companies themselves, and there is something to be said for free and open innovation, but there are clearly public concerns here. 67% of my respondents agreed with increased government oversight over the AI industry. 75% of respondents, while that’s a big number, want AI companies to have their code base open and available for review by anyone. It will be interesting to see where this trend and these sentiments end up and clearly points to some sort of regulation, whether ex Ex, it’s external or self governing within the artificial intelligence industry.

Finally, let’s take a quick glance at the revenue side. My survey included a question about the monthly subscription prices that respondents would be willing to pay for an AI chatbot that they would use on a daily basis. 34% of the respondents priced at $0. The tool should be free. Of the groups that were willing to pay, the biggest one was at 19% and they priced it at one to five dollars per month. Set another way, that’s 53% of respondents, more than half are wanting to pay either zero or a very minimal amount for AI tools. I think that this finding is open to interpretation in a variety of ways. So add a comment to this video and let me know how you interpret this and what your enterprise plans to do about it.

I’m going to consider this study a baseline. It’s a study that I definitely want to repeat in the future and be able to have it lead to more trend analysis. My hypothesis is that some of these public attitudes are gonna change drastically over time. I don’t want to speculate on those and share them with you now because I don’t want to bias you as my audience.

I have only touched upon a few of the highlights within the report. If you’d like a full copy of the report, please send me an email at research at data science with Dennis dot com and I’ll reply with a copy. I’ll see you next time.