One in four Europeans trust AI over politicians – report

A new study claims a quarter of people would rather see a machine decide their country's direction than a human politician.

A quarter of Europeans would prefer artificial intelligence (AI) to make important political decisions around the running of their country, new research claims.

A report by the IE University in Spain claims that one in four would rather AI make key decisions over politicians, but also suggests that more than half (56%) fear robots could replace most human jobs.

The governance of new technologies was named alongside climate change as the biggest challenge the EU currently faces, highlighting a contrast in public opinion towards automation.

Diego Rubio, executive director of the university’s centre for the governance of change, said: “This mindset, which probably relates to the growing mistrust citizens feel towards governments and politicians, constitutes a significant questioning of the European model of representative democracy, since it challenges the very notion of popular sovereignty.”

According to the figures, in the UK, Netherlands and Germany, trust in AI over politicians rose to one in three.

The report also suggests that 70% of those asked believe that without appropriate regulation, new technologies will cause more harm than good in society over the next decade.

“The vast majority of Europeans expect their governments to set new laws and taxes to limit automation and prevent job displacement, even if that means slowing down economic progress,” Mr Rubio said.

“These results are consistent across countries, age groups, genders and, perhaps more surprisingly, ideologies. And yet, these kinds of measures are currently out of the political debate.”

It also claims that two thirds (68%) find it concerning that people will spend more time socialising online than in person in years to come.

The report – European Tech Insights 2019 – looked at the public attitude towards technology in eight countries – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and the UK.

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