A recent extensive study conducted by Spain’s IE University reveals a growing desire among the majority of Europeans for government-imposed regulations on artificial intelligence (AI) in order to mitigate its potential impact on job security.
Out of a sample group of 3,000 Europeans, a significant 68% expressed the need for their respective governments to establish rules aimed at safeguarding jobs threatened by the increasing automation facilitated by AI. This percentage marks an 18% increase from a similar study conducted by IE University in 2022, where 58% of respondents supported AI regulation.
The primary concern voiced by the majority of Europeans is the potential loss of jobs due to AI advancements. Ikhlaq Sidhu, the dean of the IE School of SciTech at IE University, emphasized this point.
This comprehensive report was compiled by IE University’s Center for the Governance of Change, an institution dedicated to advancing the understanding, anticipation, and management of innovation.
Notably, Estonia is an outlier in Europe, with a 23% decrease in the proportion of its population advocating for AI regulation compared to the previous year. In Estonia, only 35% of respondents believe their government should impose restrictions on AI.
Nevertheless, the general sentiment across Europe supports the idea of governmental oversight of AI to minimize job losses. Ikhlaq Sidhu explained that this shift in public opinion towards accepting AI regulation is partially influenced by the recent introduction of generative AI products like ChatGPT.
This growing interest in AI regulation coincides with global efforts by governments to create regulatory frameworks for AI algorithms. In the European Union, the AI Act is set to introduce a risk-based approach to AI governance, applying varying levels of regulation depending on the specific applications of the technology. Additionally, the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, plans to host an AI safety summit at Bletchley Park to position the UK as a leader in AI safety regulation.
Concerningly, the study indicates that the majority of Europeans lack confidence in their ability to distinguish AI-generated content from genuine content, with only 27% expressing confidence in their ability to identify AI-generated fake content. This skepticism is more pronounced among older European citizens, with 52% doubting their ability to differentiate between AI-generated and authentic content.
Academics and regulators are increasingly alarmed about the potential risks associated with AI-generated synthetic material, particularly its potential to influence elections and public opinion.