46% are positive to police using facial recognition technology to monitor crowds and look for people who may have committed a crime while 27% think this would be a bad idea for society and another 27% are unsure.
Do citizens see the development of artificial intelligence and human enhancement technologies as a possibility for a better society or is it a threat?
The Pew Research Centre has made a study in the US comprising 10 260 adults and concludes that people think these technologies “have the potential to remake American society in the coming decades.”
Pew says that the survey shows Americans see promise in the way artificial intelligence and human enhancement technologies could improve daily life and human abilities.
“Yet public views are also defined by the context of how these technologies would be used, what constraints would be in place and who would stand to benefit – or lose – if these advances become widespread.”
Ambivalence is a theme in the survey data: 45% say they are equally excited and concerned about the increased use of AI programs in daily life, compared with 37% who say they are more concerned than excited and 18% who say they are more excited than concerned.
It shows that more US adults oppose than favour the idea of social media sites using facial recognition to automatically identify people in photos (57% vs. 19%) and more oppose than favour the idea that companies might use facial recognition to automatically track the attendance of their employees (48% vs. 30%).
Another concern is the potential impact of these emerging technologies on social equity.
“People are far more likely to say the widespread use of several of these technologies would increase rather than decrease the gap between higher- and lower-income Americans. For instance, 57% say the widespread use of brain chips for enhanced cognitive function would increase the gap between higher- and lower-income Americans; just 10% say it would decrease the gap. There are similar patterns in views about the widespread use of driverless cars and gene editing for babies to greatly reduce the risk of serious disease during their lifetime.”
Seven-in-ten Americans say they would find driverless cars more acceptable if there was a requirement that such cars were labelled as driverless so they could be easily identified on the road.
67% would find driverless cars more acceptable if these cars were required to travel in dedicated lanes. 57% say their use would be more acceptable if a licensed driver was required to be in the vehicle.
“Similarly, about six-in-ten Americans think the use of computer chip implants in the brain would be more acceptable if people could turn on and off the effects, and 53% would find the brain implants more acceptable if the computer chips could be put in place without surgery.”
About half or more also see mitigating steps that would make the use of robotic exoskeletons, facial recognition technology by police and gene editing in babies to greatly reduce the risk of serious disease during their lifetime more acceptable.