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MITRE-Harris Poll Finds Lack of Trust Among Americans in Artificial Intelligence Technology for High-Value Applications

While Americans rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to inform consumer choices from movie recommendations to routine customer service inquiries – the MITRE-Harris Poll survey on AI trends finds that most Americans express reservations about AI for high-value applications such as autonomous vehicles, accessing government benefits, or healthcare. Moreover, only 48% believe AI is safe and secure, and 78% are very or somewhat concerned that AI can be used for malicious intent.

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“Men, Democrats, younger generations, ad Black/Hispanic Americans, however, are more comfortable than their counterparts with the use of AI for federal government benefits processing, online doctor bots, and autonomous, unmanned rideshare vehicles.

“Artificial intelligence technology and frameworks could radically boost efficiency and productivity in many fields,” said Douglas Robbins, MITRE vice president, engineering and prototyping. “It can enable better, faster analysis of imagery in fields ranging from medicine to national security. And it can replace dull, dirty, and dangerous jobs. But if the public doesn’t trust AI, adoption may be mostly limited to less important tasks like recommendations on streaming services or contacting a call center in the search for a human. This is why we are working with government and industry on whole-of-nation solutions to boost assurance and help inform regulatory frameworks to enhance AI assurance.”

Given the uncertainty around AI, it’s not surprising that 82% of Americans and 91% of tech experts support government regulation. Further, 70% of Americans and 92% of tech experts agree that there is a need for industry to invest more in AI assurance measures to protect the public.

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“While we see differences by gender, ethnicity, and generations in acceptance of AI for both everyday and consequential uses, there remains concern about AI across all demographic groups,” explains Rob Jekielek, managing director, Harris Poll. “Men, Democrats, younger generations, and Black/Hispanic Americans, however, are more comfortable than their counterparts with the use of AI for federal government benefits processing, online doctor bots, and autonomous, unmanned rideshare vehicles.”

Other key findings include:

  • Three-quarters of Americans are concerned about deepfakes and other AI-generated content.
  • Less than half (49%) would be comfortable having an AI-based online chat for routine medical questions.
  • Only 49% would be comfortable with the federal government using AI to assist benefits processing.

MITRE is collaborating with partners throughout the AI ecosystem to enable responsible pioneering in AI to better impact society. MITRE’s work in this area includes advanced modeling capabilities for AI assurance to address the complicated effect of a promising technology’s potential impact on systems and society. MITRE participates in several joint collaborations, including membership in the Partnership for AI and Generation AI Consortium. In healthcare, MITRE is co-leading the Coalition for Health AI, which is developing a consensus-driven framework for the adoption of credible, fair, and transparent AI.

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