Americans think AI is bad news for data privacy

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Another day, another poll showing Americans distrust AI.

This time, Pew Research found that 70% of respondents who’ve heard of AI have “little to no trust in companies to make responsible decisions about how they use it in their products.” Four in five say AI will lead to their personal information being used in ways they didn’t intend.

The survey adds to a growing chorus of data from the likes of Gallup, Ipsos, and Salesforce showing that Americans resoundingly lack faith in companies to handle the technology responsibly.

Those suspicions could prove a problem as businesses of all kinds rush to implement a new wave of generative AI across everything from customer service to hiring. The good news for them is that 62% of Americans expect companies to use it to make people’s lives easier, Pew found.

Privacy pop: Outside the AI world, Pew also found that Americans’ worries about how governments use their personal data are growing. The portion of respondents who said they’re concerned about this issue rose from 64% in 2019 to 71% this May.

That was particularly true of Republicans, the concerned portion of whom jumped from 63% to 77% in those years (which included a US presidential administration change), while Democrats held steady at around 65%.

Social cues: That doubt also extends to the leaders at the top of social networks. “Some 77% of Americans have little or no trust in leaders of social media companies to publicly admit mistakes and take responsibility for data misuse,” the report read.

It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that there’s overwhelming bipartisan support for stricter laws around how companies handle their customers’ personal information, Pew reported. Around 72% of Americans want more regulation in this area, including 78% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans.

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