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Factsheets: MeMo:KI

Factsheets from the Opinion Monitor Artificial Intelligence (Meinungsmonitor Künstliche Intelligenz [MeMo:KI])

Public discourse comprises many different ideas and opinions about artificial intelligence. However, decision-makers in politics, business and society should be aware of what people think with regard to shaping technology in such a way that it is compatible with society and democracy. The Opinion Monitor Artificial Intelligence will provide a long-term and reliable picture of the public debate.

In discussions about digitization and artificial intelligence (AI), individual observations of public opinion and opinion published in the mass media are often used to strengthen one’s own position. Though, it is often overlooked that these references are usually not based on systematic and continuous observation of the discourse. Moreover, a look at various demoscopic studies shows that insights into attitudes towards AI are by no means uniform. For example, the Eurobarometer (2017) points to a rather positive attitude of the population towards AI technologies, and a bitkom survey (2018) shows that the majority of respondents believe that AI offers opportunities in innovation. Elsewhere, however, risk perceptions predominate, both in general and in relation to specific fields of application (YouGov 2018).

A research partnership with the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS).

Projekt management: Frank Marcinkowski

Research: Fabian Anicker, Pero Došenović, Golo Flaßhoff, Kimon Kieslich

How does the German population feel about the utilization of artificial intelligence for fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Factsheet No. 1

Authors: Pero Došenović, Birte Keller & Frank Marcinkowski

In addition to the obvious health risks, the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic are evident in people's everyday lives as well as in the economy and society. Therefore, major efforts are being made in the fight against the virus and a wide variety of solutions are being developed. Some of these solutions also make use of AI technologies. For example, BlueDot was first to use AI to detect the out-break of a pandemic in China back in December 2019 and was able to accurately predict the spread of the virus to surrounding countries by analyzing extensive datasets (Merten, 2020). AI is also used in the search for vaccination (Vaske, 2020). AI systems search through large databases, compare existing drugs with models of the virus and calculate which compounds are most likely to help against the virus. But AI is also used outside of science in direct patient contact. In Israel, AI has been used to classify patients into risk groups; in other countries, the order of treatment is suggested by an AI. In this way, technology plays an important role in the way doctors interact with patients (Hao, 2020). Even though most of the examples are not yet applications that have been used in Germany, there could be more discussion about AI solutions in the fight against the virus in this country as well, following positive experiences in other countries. The concept of human-centered AI, which both the German government and the European Commission are committed to, leads to the question of how the German public actually views such solutions.


How does the German public think about the discrimination potential of artificial intelligence?

Factsheet No. 2

Authors: Kimon Kieslich, Christopher Starke, Pero Došenović, Birte Keller & Frank Marcinkowski

In general, discrimination by Artificial Intelligence (AI) is only perceived as a moderate risk by the German population. However, when it comes to negative economic consequences, the use of AI is viewed rather critically. Many citizens would like to see stronger regulation of AI.


How does the German population perceive the influence of artificial intelligence on the future of the workplace?

Factsheet No. 3

Authors: Pero Došenović, Christopher Starke, Kimon Kieslich, Janine Baleis & Frank Marcinkowski

The fear of losing one‘s job due to increasing automation of processes and the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) is considered the overarching concern for employees when they ponder the effects of digitization. The following survey shows that these representations only reflect the actual concerns of the respondents to a limited extent. One of the key findings of the study is that the surveyed citizens perceive little potential for change in their own workplace. However, those who do expect changes clearly differentiate between various aspects of work. They expect positive outcomes of AI has potential when it comes to matters involving occupational health and safety, the necessary skill requirements and the overall workload. However, the maintenance of social contacts, their respective income or opportunities for co-determination in the workplace could suffer according of the respondents. The handling of data by and potential workplace surveillance through AI are two of the biggest concerns. Only very few people fear job loss for themselves, people from their private environment as well as mass unemployment.


How does the public perceive the impact of artificial intelligence on the future of journalism?

Factsheet No. 4

Authors: Kimon Kieslich, Pero Došenović, Christopher Starke, Marco Lünich & Frank Marcinkowski

Journalistic work is undergoing a process of change as a result of digitalization. Within this process, artificial intelligence (AI) plays an important role. AI systems can not only assist journalists in the distribution of news, but also support research and even write articles autonomously. But what does the German population think about these developments? We investigated precisely this as part of our Opinion Monitor Artificial Intelligence (Meinungmonitor KI [Me:Mo KI]). Our results show that the use of AI in journalistic newsrooms is viewed very critically by the German population. Not only is there little to no presumed improvement with regards to overall journalistic quality, many citizens are also in favor of strong regulations for AI systems in media and journalism. Despite the overall critical assessment of its use, the surveyed citizens expect AI to be able to perform some journalistic tasks better than human journalists. Journalistic editorial offices should therefore only use AI technologies in a well-justified and transparent manner.


What does the German public think about the use and design of algorithmic recommendation systems?

Factsheet No. 5

Authors: Kimon Kieslich, Pero Došenović & Frank Marcinkowski

Algorithmic recommendation systems are regularly used by a majority of the population. The recommendations given are usually based on large amounts of data collected about users. The evaluation of the data takes place both on a supervised basis and as part of a self-learning process. Research on the so-called automation bias assumes that people tend to follow recommendations made by algorithms. Even if, for example, they merely prepare people's consumption decisions, they come quite close to being an automated decision-making system in this respect. However, it is unclear how the German population think about such systems: What are the opinions on the consequences of algorithmic recommendations? And based on which data are respondents more likely to opt for the best possible outcome? Our data from the Opinion Monitor Artificial Intelligence (Meinungsmonitor KI [MeMo:KI]) show, that in many application areas (e.g., on music platforms or in media libraries), algorithmic recommendation systems are perceived as useful. However, a closer look paradoxically reveals that many respondents expect only limited time savings, orientation or the best possible result from the use of such systems. Furthermore, 67 percent of respondents consider algorithmic recommendation systems to be not at all or only slightly trustworthy. Unsurprisingly, the respondents are very critical of the use of personal data by such systems, especially when it comes to information about personal contacts or consumer behavior.


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