Public Trust in AI Declines; Edelman’s CEO Outlines Risks in Tech’s Swift Roll-Out


Key Takeaways:

– Trust in artificial intelligence (AI) faces a crisis, with only 50% of those surveyed expressing faith in AI.
– The tech industry’s rapid approach to AI could stimulate populism and polarization in societies.
– AI firms’ trustworthiness has fallen from 61% to 53% within five years.
– To maintain the trust, businesses need to ensure reliable and ethical AI implementation.

The Crisis of Trust in Technological Innovation

A recent report highlights an urgent concern: a declining trust in technological innovation. The rapid pace of technological change, especially concerning artificial intelligence (AI), carries the risk of fueling heightened populism and societal division. The drop in trust is significantly considerable in the realm of AI, with trust levels as low as 50% among those surveyed.

These findings were part of the 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer, presented by Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman. Mr. Edelman underscored these critical findings in meetings with the global communications firm’s clients in the tech-dense locales of Seattle and San Francisco.

Building on Trust

Mr. Edelman’s touchstone message was the importance of not overlooking the acceptance of innovation. Instead, there is a need to scale up efforts on adaptation and education, rather than merely focusing on research and development.

The Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that about 75% of those surveyed still expressed trust in the tech industry. However, eight years back, technology was the most trusted industry in 90% of the countries researched by the firm. Now, it holds that position in only half of those countries.

A Dip in Trust for AI

This worrying trajectory is underlined by the dip in trust in AI companies, which has slipped from 61% to 53% in the span of five years. This dwindling confidence highlights the inherent risks the technology industry faces in its brisk approach to AI.

Edelman’s chief reported these insights during his visit to the firm’s downtown Seattle office. The location was significant, as the firm’s Trust Barometer was inspired by the widespread protests and disturbances at the World Trade Organization conference in Seattle about 25 years ago.

Public Sentiment on AI

When the general public looks at AI, the call is to ensure it is implemented and regulated correctly. If this is not addressed, and AI is launched hurriedly without government regulation or reskilling/upskilling for impacted workers, a populist backlash might arise.

The technology industry must exhibit actionable steps to ensure AI’s influence is positively utilized, particularly highlighting its effectiveness in maintaining information quality during significant global events like elections.

The Role of Tech Companies

Transparency in AI implementation, adaptation, and acceptance is as crucial as inventing it. Businesses need to explain their approach, ensuring they are informing the public about experiments and readiness before rollout.

This exercise presents an invaluable opportunity for businesses to prove their position as the most trusted institution. They should have government assistance to set boundaries, NGOs for training, and media to relay what they are doing transparently to the public.

For more insights, read the complete 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer report.

– 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer report
– Richard Edelman on Innovation Risk in the Technology Industry
– Public trust in AI fading, warns Axios

Jonathan Browne
Jonathan Browne
Jonathan Browne is the CEO and Founder of Livy.AI

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