Poll Shows 1 in 4 Prefer AI to Make Policy Decisions

A few months back we reported on a robot attempting to run for mayor in a Tokyo city.  While the movies have taught us to fear our future robot overlords, many people weren’t necessarily opposed to having some sort of AI in charge. The “robot” actually got a few thousand votes in a third place finish.

Many Europeans also have the same sentiment when it comes to the potential of non-human rulers. A new survey conducted by The Center for the Governance of Change at Spain’s IE University found a quarter of those polled would prefer if policy decisions were made by artificial intelligence. The survey was called European Tech Insights 2019 and it focused on citizen attitudes towards technology.

Can AI Make Better Policy Decisions ?

2500 adults in the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, and the Netherlands were polled on a variety of topics related to AI and automation.

One interesting tidbit about the survey was that results were pretty even across the board. Gender, education and political ideology didn’t have a noticeable effect on willingness to allow AI to make policy decisions.

For instance, people with college degrees are equally or even more inclined to leave policy decisions in the hands of artificial intelligence than those who did not go to college.

“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 press release.

Those with college degrees are more inclined to leave policy decisions to AI.

Concern About Artificial Intelligence Taking Jobs

While there was some enthusiasm for AI making decisions, the poll showed a bit of concern on how automation and artificial intelligence would affect their lives. More than half were worried about their jobs eventually being replaced by robots.

70% of those polled felt if not properly regulated, the new technology could do more harm than good. A majority of Europeans think that the governance of new technologies is, with climate change, the biggest challenge the EU faces right now.

“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.” the press release said.

Humans and AI Will Never Be Perfect

The survey results were quite interesting. On one hand there was a growing preference for AI to make policy decisions rather than their human counterparts. But those polled also wanted the same humans to regulate use of artificial intelligence and automation in other areas.

It may seem like an unbiased AI making decisions would be a great alternative to what we have now. But the like humans, AI can get corrupted, prejudiced and manipulated. At the end of the day, they are just computer codes. And like any other program, they can be altered, hacked or diverted away from the public good.

Check out our articles on AI identifying people by shape and a robot preaching in a temple.