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Artificial Intelligence

A New Survey Examines Americans' Views of AI and Brain-Computer Interfaces

Are you ready for a chip in your brain?

Source: mohammad_hossan/pixabay

Artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning is accelerating the brain-computer interface (BCI) market growth. Pew Research announced on Thursday its latest survey, examining the American public’s view on AI and human enhancement, with key insights on attitudes toward brain-computer interfaces.

The non-partisan, non-advocacy Pew Research Center polled over 10,200 U.S. adults in early November of last year.

A majority (56 percent) of those surveyed felt that “computer chip implants in the brain that would allow people to far more quickly and accurately process information” was a “bad idea for society,” 31 percent were not sure, and only 13 percent thought it was a “good idea for society.”

According to Pew researchers Lee Rainie, Cary Funk, Monica Anderson, and Alec Tyson, “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 percent would find the brain implants more acceptable if the computer chips could be put in place without surgery.”

Overall, 62 percent of the survey's participants “foresee potential benefits for job productivity from brain chip implants for far faster and more accurate information processing,” though 78 percent “would not want a brain chip implant if it were available.” Furthermore, 63 percent feel “widespread use of brain chips for cognitive enhancement would be meddling with nature and crossing a line we should not cross.”

When it comes to autonomous vehicles powered by AI, the Pew researchers report, “Seven-in-ten Americans say they would find driverless cars more acceptable if there was a requirement that such cars were labeled as driverless so they could be easily identified on the road, and 67 percent would find driverless cars more acceptable if these cars were required to travel in dedicated lanes. In addition, 57 percent say their use would be more acceptable if a licensed driver was required to be in the vehicle.”

Of those polled, 44 percent thought that “driverless passenger vehicles that are equipped with software allowing them to operate with computer assistance, and expected to be able to operate entirely on their own” was also a bad idea for society.

On the other side, 46 percent of Americans polled felt that “facial recognition technology that would be used by police to look for people who may have committed a crime or to monitor crowds” was a good idea for society, while 27 percent thought it was a bad idea for society, and 27 percent were not sure.

Interestingly, there were two areas where the survey results were evenly divided. American attitudes toward “computer programs, called algorithms, used by social media companies to find false information on their sites” found support from 38 percent of participants, while 31 percent thought of such algorithms as a bad idea for society, and 30 percent were not sure.

Similarly, 30 percent thought that “gene editing that would greatly reduce a baby’s risk of developing serious diseases or health conditions over their lifetime” was a good idea for society, 30 percent thought it was a bad idea for society, and 39 percent were not sure.

Overall, the Pew researchers report that “Americans lean toward concern over excitement when it comes to the increased use of AI in daily life” and are “concerned about AI systems that could know people’s thoughts and make important life decisions for them.”

However, a majority were very or somewhat excited if AI could perform household chores, or perform repetitive workplace tasks.

“Fundamentally, caution runs through public views of artificial intelligence (AI) and human enhancement applications, often centered around concerns about autonomy, unintended consequences, and the amount of change these developments might mean for humans and society,” the Pew researchers concluded.

Copyright © 2022 Cami Rosso All rights reserved.

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