Perceptions, attitudes and trust toward artificial intelligence — An assessment of the public opinion

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Gian Luca LiehnerAlexander HickHannah BiermannPhilipp BraunerMartina Ziefle

Abstract: Over the last couple of years, artificial intelligence (AI)—namely machine learning algorithms—has rapidly entered our daily lives. Applications can be found in medicine, law, finance, production, education, mobility, and entertainment. To achieve this, a large amount of research has been undertaken, to optimize algorithms that by learning from data are able to process natural language, recognize objects through computer vision, interact with their environment with the help of robotics, or take autonomous decisions without the help of human input. With that, AI is acquiring core human capabilities raising the question of the impact of AI use on our society and its individuals. To form a basis for addressing those questions, it is crucial to investigate the public perception of artificial intelligence. This area of research is however often overlooked as with the fast development of AI technologies demands and wishes of individuals are often neglected. To counteract this, our study focuses on the public's perception, attitudes, and trust towards artificial intelligence. To that end, we followed a two-step research approach. We first conducted semi-structured interviews which laid the foundation for an online questionnaire. Building upon the interviews, we designed an online questionnaire (N=124) in which in addition to user diversity factors such as belief in a dangerous world, sensitivity to threat, and technology optimism, we asked respondents to rate prejudices, myths, risks, and chances about AI. Our results show that in general respondents view AI as a tool that can act independently, adapt, and help them in their daily lives. With that being said, respondents also indicate that they are not able to understand the underlying mechanisms of AI, and with this doubt, the maturity of the technology, leading to privacy concerns, fear of misuse, and security issues. While respondents are willing to use AI nevertheless, they are less willing to place their trust in the technology. From a user diversity point of view, we found, that both trust and use intention are correlated to the belief in a dangerous world and technology optimism. In summary, our research shows that while respondents are willing to use AI in their everyday lives, still some concerns remain that can impact their trust in the technology. Further research should explore the mediation of concerns to include them in a responsible development process that ensures a positive impact of AI on individuals' lives and our society.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, public perception, acceptance, machine learning, trust

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003271

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