Poll Finds 61% of Americans Believe AI Poses a Threat to Civilization
Staunton, VA - A new Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Wednesday reveals that 61% of Americans believe artificial intelligence (AI) could pose a threat to civilization itself. The rapid growth of AI technology and its integration into everyday life has raised concerns about the potential negative effects on humanity.
Since OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot became the fastest-growing application of all time, it has ignited an AI arms race, with tech giants like Microsoft and Google competing to achieve new AI milestones. This development has led lawmakers and AI companies to voice concerns about potential misuse of the technology and call for regulation.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman testified before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, expressing concerns about AI's possible negative impact. Senator Cory Booker echoed these concerns during a Senate panel on AI uses, stating, "Globally, this is exploding."
The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that the number of Americans who foresee adverse outcomes from AI is triple the number of those who don't. Sixty-one percent of respondents believe that AI poses risks to humanity, while only 22% disagreed, and 17% remained unsure.
The poll also revealed that 70% of Donald Trump voters and 60% of Joe Biden voters agreed that AI could threaten humankind. Evangelical Christians were more likely to "strongly agree" that AI presents risks to humanity, with 32% expressing this view compared to 24% of non-Evangelical Christians.
Landon Klein, director of U.S. policy of the Future of Life Institute, commented on the public's perception of AI, likening the current moment to the beginning of the nuclear era. The institute is behind an open letter co-signed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, calling for a six-month pause in AI research.
Despite widespread concerns about AI, crime and the economy ranked higher in the list of pressing issues for Americans. However, industry experts argue that the public should be more aware of AI's benefits.
Sebastian Thrun, a computer science professor at Stanford and founder of Google X, emphasized the need for understanding AI's positive applications. He argued that AI can raise people's quality of life and help them become more competent and efficient.
Ion Stoica, a UC Berkeley professor and co-founder of AI company Anyscale, added that the positive applications of AI, such as revolutionizing drug discovery, may not be as visible as ChatGPT.
The online poll surveyed 4,415 U.S. adults between May 9 and May 15, with a credibility interval of plus or minus 2 percentage points.