Trust in AI companies drops to 35 percent in new study

Article by Filip Timotija: “Trust in artificial intelligence (AI) companies has dipped to 35 percent over a five-year period in the U.S., according to new data.

The data, released Tuesday by public relations firm Edelman, found that trust in AI companies also dropped globally by eight points, going from 61 percent to 53 percent. 

The dwindling confidence in the rapidly-developing tech industry comes as regulators in the U.S. and across the globe are brainstorming solutions on how to regulate the sector. 

When broken down my political party, researchers found Democrats showed the most trust in AI companies at 38 percent — compared to Republicans’ 24 percent and independents’ 25 percent, per the study.

Multiple factors contributed to the decline in trust toward the companies polled in the data, according to Justin Westcott, Edelman’s chair of global technology.

“Key among these are fears related to privacy invasion, the potential for AI to devalue human contributions, and apprehensions about unregulated technological leaps outpacing ethical considerations,” Westcott said, adding “the data points to a perceived lack of transparency and accountability in how AI companies operate and engage with societal impacts.”

Technology as a whole is losing its lead in trust among sectors, Edelman said, highlighting the key findings from the study.

“Eight years ago, technology was the leading industry in trust in 90 percent of the countries we study,” researchers wrote, referring to the 28 countries. “Now it is most trusted only in half.”

Westcott argued the findings should be a “wake up call” for AI companies to “build back credibility through ethical innovation, genuine community engagement and partnerships that place people and their concerns at the heart of AI developments.”

As for the impacts on the future for the industry as a whole, “societal acceptance of the technology is now at a crossroads,” he said, adding that trust in AI and the companies producing it should be seen “not just as a challenge, but an opportunity.”

Priorities, Westcott continued, should revolve around ethical practices, transparency and a “relentless focus” on the benefits to society AI can provide…(More)”.

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