It doesn’t seem surprising that in a world where Donald Trump is president of the United States that a quarter of people would prefer artificial intelligence to make decisions over a politician.
The Center for the Governance of Change at Spain’s IE University polled 2,500 adults in the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, and the Netherlands in January. The goal was to map attitudes around technological transformations that are unfolding in their cities and workplaces and how they think their governments should deal with them.
The most surprising result was that a quarter of the respondents said they would prefer AI to guide decisions about governance of their country over politicians.
The study notes:
“The growing disillusionment with the political class is reflected, in turn, in the number of individuals who would rather have an AI make policy decisions than politicians. The loss of trust in political elites that this reveals is consistent with a multitude of other surveys and opinion polls conducted in recent years, and highlights the paradox in which we live: people are disillusioned with governments, yet at the same time ask them to tackle the societal and economic negative effects that emerging technologies might have.”
“This mindset, which probably relates to the growing mistrust citizens feel towards governments and politicians, constitutes a significant questioning of the European model of representative democracy, since it challenges the very notion of popular sovereignty,” Diego Rubio, the executive director for IE’s Center for the Governance of Change, said in a statement.
This sentiment taps into a global trend of a growing disillusionment with democracy and increased skepticism that their voice has an impact on political decisions.
The problem with letting AI make policy decisions is that algorithms can be prejudice and bias. They can be manipulated to achieve certain outcomes. We have the opportunity to train our artificial intelligence to be without bias, but we need to understand that bias before we can train machines to avoid it.
The study also found that respondents expected governments to reduce the disruption that technology might have on their lives with regulation, limits on automation, and support for people affected by job losses. This “highlights the paradox in which we live,” the authors wrote. “People are disillusioned with governments, yet at the same time ask them to tackle the societal and economic negative effects that emerging technologies might have.”
Here are a few other take a ways directly from the study:
The results reflect an intense anxiety about the changes brought about by advances in tech, with more than half of respondents worried that jobs would be replaced by robots, and 70% saying that unchecked technological innovation could do more harm than good to society. Respondents also expressed concerns about the impact of digital relationships replacing human contact as more people spend time online.
Over two-thirds of Europeans of all ages believe that, if not appropriately controlled, new technologies will cause more harm than good to society in the coming decade.
The vast majority of Europeans surveyed expect their governments to set new laws and taxes to limit automation and prevent job displacement, even if that means stopping technological progress.
People are not only worried about the incoming technological transition, but also feel that the institutions tasked with making this process manageable are failing. Most of the people surveyed feel that the educational system is not training them to tackle the challenges brought about by new technologies.
If you’d like to keep reading about the future of AI and robots in Society we have a few other articles for you: