Artificial Intelligence

What Americans Really Think of AI

Overview While artificial intelligence is a probably a familiar term to most U.S. adults, for some the technology still conjures concern over privacy, job loss and disinformation. Even though consumers are optimistic about AI’s future, CTA research indicates favorability among those who are familiar with AI for regulation of the tech via a balanced approach with industry.

The terms “innovative” and “futuristic” reflect how many U.S. adults familiar with AI describe artificial intelligence. Yet few are applying the terms “trust” and “safety” to a technology that’s quickly becoming a fact of daily life in the workplace and home. To capture deeper insights into how individuals feel about AI, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® surveyed 2023 U.S. adults (aged 18 and up) from July 31 to August 14, 2023. Study findings, detailed in Decoding Consumer Sentiment and Outlook on Artificial Intelligence

AI Perceptions: Mostly Optimistic

AI technology is well known to American consumers, with 87% surveyed observing that they had seen or heard “a lot” or “a little” about artificial intelligence tech. Within that group, consumers shared positive views of AI, calling it innovative (42%), futuristic (36%), intelligent (35%) and helpful (24%). At the same time, Americans still have some misgivings, with consumers also characterizing the technology as “scary” (23%), “unpredictable” (30%) and “intrusive” (14%) when asked to choose from a set of adjectives to describe the technology.
When considering how most currently or would use AI, consumers familiar with AI welcome it as a helper for routine consumer activities and chores, with 41% comfortable with it having a noticeable impact on daily life. Many consumers are open to having AI tech perform tasks for them, for example, retail purchases or recommendations, fitness coaching, crime prevention, housekeeping and meal preparation. Fewer consumers are open to having AI perform more personal tasks for them such as childcare and hiring/firing decisions (16% and 22%, respectively).

Regulation and the AI Future

The survey suggests broad consensus among the AI-aware that the U.S. federal government should play an important role in regulating AI technology applications. Some 73% say they want lawmakers to be central in safeguarding AI.
Of those who “somewhat” or “completely” support U.S.-led regulation, more than two-thirds agreed with this statement: “There should be a balanced approach in how AI policy is implemented.” Many (58%) also agreed with the view that the United States “must lead” the world on AI policy and innovation. However, only 29% believe the U.S. is already doing so.  
The U.S. has an opportunity to lead the world on AI policy and innovation. However, appropriate guardrails are important, as is explained in CTA’s National AI Policy and Regulatory Framework. CTA supports a regulatory approach that engages industry in voluntary measures toward ethical, inclusive, accurate and trustworthy AI. The objective is to afford industry the flexibility to innovate.
A broader discussion on AI will take place on October 13 when CTA hosts an interactive session on All Things AI: CTA’s Approach to Policy, Research and Standards. The program, which is open to - and free for - CTA members, is part of CTA’s Focus Friday series of informal and interactive conversations among member companies and industry experts.
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