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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

8 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

10 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.