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Overall, 41% of American adults support the development of artificial intelligence, according to a new survey.

Expand chart
Adapted from a Center for the Governance of AI report; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, but: That leaves a lot of other people opposing it — a lot of women, low-wage earners, people without a college education and people without coding experience. The same goes for Republicans and people 73 or older. Essentially, those unsupportive of AI are those least likely to be involved in designing it — and the most likely to be adversely affected.

Why it matters: Without broad buy-in, what AI’s supporters hope for — better health care, safer cars — could be delayed, mired in a legitimacy crisis, or even result in a public revolt.

The data comes from a nationwide survey released Tuesday. It was carried out last June by a pair of social scientists — Yale's Baobao Zhang and Oxford's Allan Dafoe — and published by the Center for the Governance of AI.

  • The division in support for AI may reflect a crucial accountability gap: AI makers — mostly rich, educated men — may not be very attuned to the perceptions and preferences of the people their creations will affect.
  • "These people are least likely to have had experiences that would lead them to be wary of the actions of for-profit companies," Whittaker of the AI Now Institute tells Axios.

"It's in the public interest to build AI well, but everyone has to be convinced," says Dafoe.

  • "Consensus isn't there, and there's a real risk that there could be a political backlash against the development and deployment of AI."

Go deeper

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.

CBC members nix border visit

A Haitian migrant carries a toddler on his shoulders today as he crosses the Rio Grande River. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus weighed visiting the U.S.-Mexico border this week to investigate the conditions faced by Haitian migrants and protest allegations of inhumane treatment by U.S. agents.

Why it matters: It's a thorny proposition both in terms of timing and messaging. Going assures a new wave of negative headlines for President Biden amid sinking popularity. And with congressional deadlines in the coming days over infrastructure, a possible government shutdown and debt-limit crisis, Democrats can't afford to lose any votes in the House.