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Will AI end civilization (or save it)?

Jul. 18, 2023.
2 min. read Interactions

Take a 10-minute survey to express your views and possible concerns

About the Writer

Amara Angelica

161.29523 MPXR

Amara Angelica is Senior Editor, Mindplex

The Blue Marble, taken by the Apollo 17 crew in 1972 (credit: NASA)

Researchers at Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software and University College Cork, are seeking help determining what the public believes and knows about AI, and software more generally.

Psychologist Dr. Sarah Robinson, a senior postdoctoral researcher with Lero, is asking members of the public to take part in a ten-minute anonymized online survey to establish peoples’ hopes and fears for AI, and software in general.

What does the public think?

“As the experts debate, little attention is given to what the public thinks—and the debate is raging,” says Robinson. “Some AI experts express concern that others prioritize imagined apocalyptic scenarios over immediate concerns (such as racist and sexist biases being programmed into machines). As software impacts all our lives, the public is a key stakeholder in deciding what being responsible for software should mean.

“So, that’s why we want to find out what the public is thinking. For example, human rights abuses are happening through AI and facial recognition software.

Biased data

“Research by my Lero colleague Dr. Abeba Birhane and others found that data used to train some AI is contaminated with racist and misogynist language. As AI becomes widespread, the use of biased data may lead to harm and further marginalisation for already marginalised groups.

“While there is a lot in the media about AI, especially ChatGPT, and what kind of world it is creating, there is less information about how the public perceives the software all around us, from social media to streaming services and beyond. We are interested in understanding the public’s point of view—what concerns the public have, what are their priorities in terms of making software responsible and ethical, and the thoughts and ideas they have to make this a reality,” said Robinson.

Short survey

Participants in the survey will be asked for their views and possible concerns on a range of issues and topics, with the hope of clarifying their views on critical issues. Lero is asking members of the public to donate 10 minutes of their time for this short survey.

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2 Comments

2 thoughts on “Will AI end civilization (or save it)?

  1. Fascinating study! Understanding the public's perspectives on AI and software ethics is crucial for responsible development. Let's contribute to this vital research and shape a more inclusive future together
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  2. The survey discusses very legit concerns of software applications but, in my opinion, some of the greatest AI specific risks, such as hypercentralization of power, uncompassionate AI, autonomous weapons etc. were not on the table. If one of the research goals is to get an understanding of how the public weighs these issues (apocalyptic vs immediate), a more comprehensive view would have been desirable.
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