6 Apr 2023

Study suggests disadvantaged most want AI safeguards imposed

11:31 am on 6 April 2023
Artificial intelligence generic

The report suggests addressing people's concerns can potentially increase support for the adoption of AI. Photo: 123RF

A landmark new study reveals that older people, women, and those from deprived areas are among those who would support stricter regulation of artificial intelligence.

The report, published in the journal AI and Ethics, is based on a survey of nearly 50,000 people in the longitudinal New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study.

It is the first time attitudes towards AI has been studied in such a comprehensive way.

The data revealed those with certain demographics and personality types are related to wanting tighter guard-rails on the technology.

These included non-European, religious, single, and rural people, and parents.

"These factors may collectively suggest that people from more disadvantaged backgrounds may be especially concerned about a lack of regulation around AI, especially as these effects emerge even while controlling for other factors such as education and job security," the report said.

People with neurotic personality traits - who are anxious or fearful - as well as those with co-operative, trusting, and friendly traits also wanted more regulation.

Report co-author Christoph Bartneck, who is an associate professor of computer science at the University of Canterbury, said the latter group might be motivated by a desire for regulation to achieve fairness out of a concern for others.

The report said by addressing people's concerns, "we can potentially increase support for the adoption of AI in domains where it has the greatest potential to benefit humanity".

"Developers need to be aware of the role that personality traits and demographic factors play when users directly interact with AI systems."

The report noted while personality and demographic factors were important, they collectively explain just over 5 percent of the total variance in people's support for the strict regulation of AI, suggesting that there were other important factors beyond these.

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