Widespread concern about artificial intelligence

New global poll for the World Economic Forum shows more agree than disagree that governments and companies’ use of AI should be more strictly controlled.

Four in ten adults across the world are worried about the use of artificial intelligence, according to an Ipsos poll published by the World Economic Forum. Among the 20,107 adults from 27 countries surveyed on Ipsos’s Global Advisor online platform between April 19 and May 3, 41% agree that they are worried about the use of AI, while 27% disagree and 32% neither agree nor disagree.

Similarly, four in ten (40%) agree that the government’s use of AI should be restricted more strictly than it is now, while 24% disagree and 36% neither agree nor disagree. Support for more regulation of businesses is even more prevalent: nearly half of adults surveyed (48%) agree that the use of AI by companies should be regulated more strictly than it currently is, while just 20% disagree and 32% neither agree nor disagree.

However, only one in five globally (19%) agree that AI should be banned altogether while 48% disagree and 33% neither agree nor disagree.

Contrary to what some might expect, global attitudes toward AI hardly vary by age, income, education level and gender.

  • Adults under the age of 35 are only slightly less likely than those aged 35-49 and those 50 and older to agree with calls to further restrict the use of AI by government (38% vs. 41% and 41%, respectively) and for more regulation of its use by companies (46% vs. 50% and 50%, respectively).
  • People with lower levels of education are just as likely to worry about the use of AI in general (42% vs. 41% of those with medium levels of education and, also, 41% of those with a higher levels of education), to favor restricting government use of AI more (41% vs. 40% and 39%, respectively), and to favor further regulating businesses’ use of AI (48% vs. 49% and 49%, respectively).
  • Women are somewhat more likely to be worried by AI than are men (44% vs. 39%), but they are barely more likely than men to support more restrictions on AI use by government (41% vs. 39%) and more regulation of AI use by companies (49% vs. 47%).

The findings were presented at the World Economic Forum’s 13th Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, People’s Republic of China.

The survey was conducted in 27 countries via Global Advisor, the online survey platform of Ipsos, between May 24 and June 7, 2019. Ipsos interviewed a total of 20,107 adults aged: 16-74 in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China (mainland), Colombia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Sweden; 18-74 in Canada, South Africa, Turkey, and the United States of America; and 19-74 in South Korea.
The sample consists of 1,000+ individuals in each of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and the USA, and of 500+ individuals in each of the other countries surveyed. The data is weighted so each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of its adult population according to the most recent census data, and to give each country an equal weight in the total “global” sample.