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REPORTBACK: We asked YOU about the future of AI

Survey uncovers public sentiment on AI: Hope, Worry, and the Urgent Call for Safeguards

In a world where science fiction meets reality, generative artificial intelligence (AI) has taken center stage, promising to reshape our lives in extraordinary ways. From automated cars to asking ChatGPT to spruce up your cover letter – AI is transforming industries and challenging societal norms. 

There’s a lot of news coverage on what it could mean right now – but we were curious about our community's take on this technological revolution, so we conducted an eye-opening survey of how the OpenMedia community in Canada and the United States feel about AI and its potential impact. This survey aimed to capture the opinions, concerns, and expectations of individuals regarding AI technologies and their potential impact on society. With a total of 3,971 participants, the findings shed light on the current state of public perception and provide valuable insights for organizations like OpenMedia to shape their approach toward the rapid increase in generative AI technologies.

Key Findings

Awareness of AI News Coverage: When asked about their level of engagement with AI news, our survey found that a significant majority of respondents are actively engaged with AI news. When asked about their level of engagement, an impressive 89.53% of participants indicated that they follow AI news stories. Furthermore, 48.15% of respondents expressed a keen interest in AI developments and reported following such news closely. These findings suggest an exceptionally high level of interest and engagement among the general public regarding AI.

Concerns vs. Excitement: The survey revealed that most OpenMedia participants expressed more worry about the risks associated with AI (67.41% in the US and 59.20% in Canada) than hope about its potential benefits.

Generative AI Experience: Most respondents (76.57% in the US and 56.56% in Canada) reported that they had not tried generative AI technologies, such as ChatGPT or Dalle-E. This suggests that while we’re reading the stories, most of us aren’t using AI regularly ourselves quite yet.

Understanding of Generative AI: Do we get how it all works? More than you might think! When asked about their understanding of generative AI, a considerable percentage of participants (65.36% in the US and 65.78% in Canada) indicated a medium level of comprehension, stating that they understood some basic principles of how generative AI works.

Hopeful Aspects of AI: In terms of positive aspects, respondents in both countries expressed hope in AI's potential to contribute to long-term human welfare, major breakthroughs in science, productivity, and overall health and well-being (​​70.92% in the US and 65.55% in Canada). Despite our considerable concerns, there is still some real optimism about the positive impact of AI in various areas of society. OpenMedia members recognize its potential to bring advancements and improvements that can benefit society, and some of our written commentators are truly excited about it.

​​However, it's important to note that this question received a significant number of skips, which suggests that some individuals may not be as hopeful about the positive impact of AI. Taking into account the skipped responses, this reduces data to 45.71% in Canada and  44.56% in the US. 

Concerns about AI: The survey revealed that OpenMedia community members are deeply worried about what could be wrong with generative AI. Overwhelming majorities of us are worried about what more believable misinformation being generated by AI to misinform or scam individuals (90.17% total) and the potential for bad actors to manipulate AI in order to harass or attack people (88.05% total). Nearly two-thirds of participants expressed concerns about AI being fed poor-quality and biased data that will amplify biases, including harming marginalized groups, or tilting the scales towards particular political ideologies. Are robots going to ruin journalism, the Internet and truth itself? Maybe, maybe not  – but these concerns emphasize the importance of addressing ethical considerations, privacy, and algorithmic biases in the development and deployment of AI systems.

Expected Impact of AI: Is AI going to transform our world? Most of us think so – maybe a lot. 79.28% of us expect AI to change our lives at least as much as the smartphone did. In the next 5-10 years, a significant number of us think it will be bigger, comparable to the arrival of the internet (34.01% in the US and 41.07% in Canada).

Importance of Addressing AI: The survey told us we need to act. Addressing AI as an issue was highly important to the respondents, with 94.84% in the US and 90.56% in Canada expressing that OpenMedia should campaign on this issue, and a majority of those respondents saying it should be one of our top issues.

OpenMedia's Response: But what should we do? Legislate, educate, and advocate! When asked how OpenMedia should respond to the rapid increase in generative AI technologies, 83.99% of participants indicated that OpenMedia should run campaigns to pressure governments into implementing strong protections and safeguards against AI misuse or abuse. Educating our community about what’s going on and pushing companies to adopt ethical standards had nearly as much support.

What’s next?

We're grateful for our community's participation in this survey. Your valuable feedback has given us a deeper understanding of your priorities, concerns, and hopes regarding AI. 

Now we’re working on addressing what you’ve asked us to do. We recognize the urgent need for safeguards and responsible AI practices. The risks and challenges highlighted in the survey, distinguishing misleading misinformation from malicious actors, cannot be ignored. We’re committed to championing robust safeguards to protect your privacy and advocate for responsible AI. OpenMedia will continue to engage policymakers, raise awareness, and foster meaningful discussions. We are determined to shape an AI landscape that upholds human rights, transparency, and accountability.

Thank you again for being part of this vital survey. Your participation is critical to ensuring we’re advocating for an inclusive AI future that works for YOU.  

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