Americans Don't Know What to Think of AI Companies, but Many Support More Regulation
Survey conducted April 19-22, 2023, among a representative sample of 2,212 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.
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Sam Altman, the chief executive of ChatGPT maker OpenAI, testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee last week, where he called on Congress to regulate advanced artificial intelligence systems and large language models used for generative AI tools.
As lawmakers domestically and internationally begin to negotiate what the guardrails for this emerging technology will look like, a plurality of the public backs additional government regulation for companies that operate in the AI space, according to a Morning Consult survey.
Public more likely than not to support more government regulation of AI companies, regardless of party affiliation
- More than 2 in 5 adults believe AI companies should face more government regulation, compared with just 1 in 10 who believe the companies should be regulated less.
- Across political parties, more regulation is favored compared to the alternatives, including nearly half of all Democrats and 44% of Republicans.
- Independents have the largest share of undecideds, with more than 1 in 3 saying they don’t know or have no opinion.
The Public Is Split on Trust for AI Companies
Public’s trust in AI companies is split
- Many adults have yet to make up their minds on how trustworthy or favorable they view AI companies to be. About 1 in 4 adults said they don’t know or have no opinion on whether they trust AI companies to do the right thing, and about 1 in 3 said the same when asked if they view these companies favorably or unfavorably.
- Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they trust AI companies to do the right thing (47% vs. 32%).
- Among generations, millennials have the most positive view of the AI industry, with nearly half saying they have a very or somewhat favorable opinion of companies in the space. By contrast, just 1 in 3 Gen Zers and Gen Xers view AI companies favorably, along with just 1 in 4 baby boomers.
Public remains unsure of AI companies as regulation appears imminent
Generative AI tools like ChatGPT have garnered attention, and companies including Microsoft Corp. and Google have made hay about integrating the technology into their products and services, but the public remains skeptical of the companies behind AI technology.
Noteworthy chunks of populations have yet to make up their minds about AI companies. Favorability among adults tends to lag significantly behind the tech industry more broadly: 51% of adults say they have a somewhat or very favorable view of major technology companies.
A similar trend appears when asked about trustworthiness. While nearly equal shares of adults say they trust and distrust AI companies to do the right thing, major technology companies fare much better: The public is more than twice as likely to say it trusts these firms (52%) than to say it distrusts them (24%).
The lack of trust and favorability may stem from the public’s unease about the capabilities of this new technology. Morning Consult previously found that more than 3 in 5 adults said they are concerned that current AI systems could act independently without human input, and an equal share said they’re worried the technology could be a threat to humans.
The April 19-22, 2023, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,212 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.
AJ Dellinger is a data reporter at Morning Consult covering technology. @ajdell