The news that two Facebook artificial intelligence bots started developing their own language which humans couldn’t understand has some people scared, while others say they are fascinated by it.
Facebook researchers recently had to instruct their so-called ‘AI agents’ to speak English so that humans could follow the conversation, after two bots training in negotiation skills began creating their own shorthand to communicate. We got curious to see what people (Facebook users or not) thought of this news, so we ran a survey using SurveyMonkey Audience to ask them.
The first conclusion was that three out of every four people hadn’t actually heard about this particular news story–even though 77% of respondents are Facebook users.
But maybe the most noteworthy part is that most respondents (84%, in fact) didn’t even know that Facebook has been doing research in artificial intelligence. The Silicon Valley company may be known to big sectors of the general public as a social app or website, but it is also developing cutting-edge technology including machine learning, virtual and augmented reality, and more.
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The reactions were stronger among those who hadn’t heard the story before taking the survey. Many called it “scary” and someone even said it was “terrifying.” But there were also many who said it was “interesting” and “amazing.”
“Better choices” or “destruction of the human race”?
The reactions ranged from the hopeful and positive…:
“Artificial intelligence can be added to so many things to make better choices such as to avoid problems humans make in traffic, medicine, picking stocks, judging sports, and cooking food.”
…to the downright nihilistic:
“Humans had their time, we just messed up the planet, let AI have a chance to rule the world.”
“I don’t think we are capable of stopping once something has been put in motion. I think AI will ultimately lead to the attempted destruction of the human race”
One respondent appeared to sum up both sides of the argument, “Sounds like a movie script and, if it is true, that is both fascinating and scary.”
Here are other reactions, running the gamut from the very curious to the very surprised:
- “This is very interesting and it would be great if it could be studied further!”
- “What is this world coming to!!!”
- “I was shocked that I had heard nothing about this, especially with how often I am on Facebook.”
A slightly higher number of people were already familiar with artificial intelligence than those who knew little or nothing about it (52% to 47%). And the same margin separated those who have favorable views of this technology from those who have negative opinions of it.
People also seemed to have little information as to whether their own job could be at risk because of the rise of AI-powered automation.
What sort of impact do you think artificial intelligence will have on your industry?
It’s clear that artificial intelligence still remains a fuzzy subject for most. And that people will need more information about its potential before we get a majority view on whether we should all be fascinated… or scared.
About our study: On August 1 and 2, we used SurveyMonkey Audience and email to survey a sample of 278 people aged 18+ in the United States.
The post People are scared and fascinated by Facebook’s artificial intelligence program appeared first on SurveyMonkey.