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Rise of the Robots: Public Opinions of AI

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Scientists in the US this week developed what is being dubbed the world’s first ‘psychopath’ Artificial Intelligence algorithm.

The AI – named ‘Norman’ after the killer in Hitchcock’s classic movie Psycho – was trained using disturbing image captions on Reddit. When a standard AI took an inkblot test – in which participants must describe what they see in a random inkblot pattern – it described a vase of flowers.

Norman saw a man shot dead.

In another inkblot test, the standard AI saw a black and white picture of a small bird.

Norman saw a man being dragged into a dough machine.

So, with AI set to dominate every aspect of our lives from the boardroom to the bedroom, what is our attitude towards the rise of the robots?

Let’s start in the bedroom.

In a survey by Atomik Research, 10% of Brits said they would consider using an AI sex robot and 16% thought they would be a good idea for lonely people. And guess what? More than twice as many men (14%) as women (6%) would use one, while 23% of men thought they were a good idea compared to 9% of women.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of Millennials aged 25-34 said they would use an AI sex robot compared to just 5% in the 45 – 54 age group.

Twenty-one per cent of women saw the plug-in companions as a threat to society against 16% of men.

Most (59%) Brits say they know a ‘small amount’ about AI, but 37% of Millennials say they know ‘a lot’ about the subject.

Knowledge of AI

The biggest benefits of AI are seen as helping the sick or disabled (44%), saving people doing repetitive or manual tasks (41%), scientific discovery (40%) and advances in industry (39%).

Nearly half (46%) of Brits are worried about AI and the implications it could have for the future.

Biggest concerns are humans becoming less intelligent and more reliant on machines (47%) and the risk of job losses (46%)

Others are worried machines may become too clever (40%) and 38% believe AI signals the end of society as we know it.

Benefits of AI

AI hit the headlines this week when Google said it would not allow its AI to be used in the Pentagon’s Artificial Intelligence Project.

But 44% of Brits think AI is useful in a military context, with hopes that it would lead to more accurate targeting (50%) and that it will help us gain more intelligence on potential threats.

However, over half (54%) fear it could result in more loss of civilian life because you are potentially removing human thinking (52%).

As HG Wells wrote nearly 120 years ago: “We were making the future … and hardly any of us troubled to think what future we were making. And here it is!”



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