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A Digital World: Perceptions of risk from AI and misuse of personal data

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The use of personal data and artificial intelligence (AI) has grown exponentially in recent years.

However, this innovation is not without risk, and regulation has often struggled to keep pace. To understand how people around the world feel about AI and their personal data being used online, this report asks key questions about misuse of personal information and the use of autonomous technologies, such as self-driving cars. The findings reveal valuable insight into how much people trust organisations to use their personal data safely and appropriately.

An introduction to the report

Experts from the Ada Lovelace Institute and Lloyd's Register Foundation discuss the report's findings.

Key Findings

  • Across the global population as a whole, views are fairly split on whether AI will mostly help or harm people over the next 20 years, but views are more positive in countries and regions that are leading the development of these technologies, suggesting familiarity may play a role in building confidence. Globally, almost two in five people (39%) said AI will ‘mostly help’ people in their country, compared with 28% who said it will ‘mostly harm’. 
  • Worry about the misuse of personal information online is prevalent worldwide. Around three quarters of internet users say they are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ worried their personal data will be stolen (77%) or used by companies without their permission (74%), and more than two-thirds (68%) are worried about their personal data being used by their government.
  • Globally, the more forms of discrimination people have experienced – whether because of their ethnicity, sex, religion or disability – the more likely they are to worry about the harmful misuse of their personal information online, whether by their government, criminals, or private companies.
  • At a global level, experience of discrimination also galvanises opinion on AI, making people slightly more likely to say AI will either help or harm people in their country (rather than that they don’t know or have no opinion). However, there are also a number of countries where experience of discrimination significantly increases worry about harm.


Will AI mostly help or harm people in your country in the next 20 years?

The data visualisation shows the proportion of people in each country who said AI would 'mostly help' (pink) or 'mostly harm' (teal) people in their country in the next 20 years, ranked from most positive at the top to most negative at the bottom.

Use your cursor to hover over each response segment for each country for more information, and scroll down to view more countries. We recommend using a desktop or laptop device for the best user experience.

Aaron please update. World Risk Poll - AI

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