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Pew Research: Americans Feel More Concerned Than Excited About AI

According to recent research conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2023, 52% of Americans feel "more concerned than excited" about the use of AI in daily life, compared to 37% in 2021 — an increase of 15 percentage points.

The research team surveyed 11,201 U.S. adults from July 31 to Aug. 6, 2023. Participants were contacted randomly by the national online survey American Trends Panel.

In 2021, 45% of participants were equally excited and concerned about the use of AI, with 18% more excited than concerned, and 37% were more concerned than excited. That number did not change significantly in 2022 (46% equally concerned/excited, 15% more excited, and 38% more concerned), but this year those percentages have drastically changed, with 36% equally concerned/excited, 10% excited, and 52% concerned.

Pew said concern about AI outweighs excitement across the major demographic groups polled: gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, and others. Perhaps predictably, 61% of older adults (65+) are more concerned than excited, with the gap being smaller among 18 to 29-year-olds, but still significant: 42% more concerned, and 17% more excited.

The research also shows that growing public awareness about AI is keeping pace with rising concerns.

"Those who have heard a lot about AI are 16 points more likely now than they were in December 2022 to express greater concern than excitement about it," the report noted. "Among this most aware group, concern now outweighs excitement by 47% to 15%. In December, this margin was 31% to 23%." Levels of concern seem to be about equal whether people have heard a lot about AI (16%) or not much (19%).

Americans' concerns focus heavily on maintaining control of AI, doubts about whether it will improve our lives, and use of it in certain fields, such as medicine, the report said. A large concern is also data privacy and safety with the use of AI, with 53% of survey respondents feeling their information is not being kept safe and private.

Visit the report page to read more about the results and follow links to the methodology.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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