Americans’ Attitudes Toward AI: Can People Trust AI?
AI has been increasingly used in our daily lives. However, there is still a lot of doubt regarding how far we can rely on AI. Based on a study conducted by Krista Software that investigated attitudes toward AI, most people do not consider AI as a tool capable of assuming important responsibilities, such as making life and death decisions in war or being a juror in a trial. Americans still depend on humans over AI, especially when it comes to decision-making, and they believe that humans will do a better job in a wide range of activities.
Trust in AI: The Survey Findings
According to the Krista Software survey of 1,000 American adults, most individuals, 67% don’t want AI to make life or death decisions in war, 64% don’t want AI as a jury in a trial, and 57% don’t want AI to fly airplanes. The outcome of these decisions may directly or indirectly affect people’s lives, leading respondents to trust humans over AI by a wide margin. Americans are not yet willing to allow AI to make decisions or work tasks that could potentially impact them.
Human Capabilities vs. AI Capabilities
The survey additionally revealed that Americans believe that humans will do a better job than AI in a variety of activities that require decision-making, including investigating corruption (65%), choosing gifts (67%), deciding on a raise at work (69%), teaching a morality course (73%), administering medicine (73%), picking work outfits (75%), writing laws (76%), voting (79%), and doing our jobs (86%).
Automation and AI
One of the reasons for this concern and paradoxically, the lack of concern, is a potential misunderstanding between automation and AI. AI tries to imitate human intelligence and reasoning, while automation uses a very direct rules-based approach to make decisions and take action. The first is susceptible to whim and occasional outright hallucination, whereas the second does exactly the specific tasks it is programmed to do every single time. Consequently, trusting AI to do challenging, complex, and nuanced things without human oversight is likely to lead to some good results and increasingly good results over time as the AI improves, but also other nonsensical outcomes that no reasonable human would ever suggest.
Trust is Earned
“When it comes to AI, trust is something that must be earned, and part of that involves transparency and understanding,” said Michelsen. “When we responsibly integrate AI into our productivity apps, business processes, customer service centers, and countless other applications, we can’t assume users and consumers will have a background in computer or data science.”
Gender Differences in Trust
The Krista Software survey also found that men are more willing to trust AI than women. For instance, 58% of men are okay with AI handling their medication, but only 45% of women agree with this. 72% of men are fine with AI checking their colonoscopy, while only 57% of women are okay with this approach to checking mammograms. Additionally, 75% of men would trust AI for their jobs, while only 48% of women would prefer AI to do their jobs.
The gap in trust between AI and humans is still significant as most Americans believe that AI should not be granted key responsibilities that could impact their lives. Americans are not yet ready to allow AI to make decisions or take work tasks where they could potentially be affected. Furthermore, men are more willing to trust AI than women are. As such, it is crucial for organizations and businesses that extensively use AI to invest in transparency and education to build trust with their users and consumers.