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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

Airlines, unions want DOJ to prosecute unruly passengers

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A coalition of airline industry partners asked the Justice Department on Monday to begin prosecuting disruptive passengers.

Why it matters: Increased political divisions and conflict over pandemic guidelines have led the Federal Aviation Administration to take some form of enforcement action over 400 times in the first five months of 2021, compared to 146 in all of 2019, according to the coalition.

California to pay off unpaid rent accrued during COVID-19 pandemic

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California will pay off the accumulated unpaid rent that has piled up during the COVID-19 pandemic, the AP reports.

Why it matters: The move would fulfill a promise to landlords to help them to break even, while giving renters relief, the AP writes.