Is Artificial Intelligence a danger? More than half of UK FEARS robots will take over | Artificial intelligence
About 51 percent of those polled expressed further concern smart robots could drive unemployment and force people out of jobs.
The news comes after the World Economic Forum published a report on Monday, September 17, warning 75 million jobs could be lost to automation.
New Scientist Live researchers have now found at least 37 percent of the public fear artificial intelligence could be a driving factor behind social inequality.
The stark findings were drawn from a sample of 2,000 Britons, questioned about the biggest threats facing humanity in the coming years.
Artificial intelligence topped the list, followed shortly by genetic engineering, climate change and cancer.
Other threats discussed included the rise in antibiotic-resistant superbugs, robots and brain implants.
Only 37 percent of people are concerned with the discovery of alien life and 30 percent spoke about the war on plastics.
Virtual reality ranked number 10 on the poll with only 22 percent concerned by its implications.
Valerie Jamieson, editorial content director for New Scientist Live, said the overall figures were encouraging.
She said: “The study reveals a surprising level of knowledge from the public and a keen interest in the biggest scientific and technological changes to come.
“We’re encouraged to see the UK embracing scientific opinion, however our research raises questions for politicians about how out of step they are with public opinion and in fact, ordinary people are way ahead.”
Although 51 percent of the public fear robots will force them out of the job, 52 percent of those polled welcomed the possibility of robots automating everyday mundane tasks.
The study further found the majority of people in support of robot rights fell within the millennial age group of poll respondents.
On the topic of genetic engineering, the public was much more positive it could be beneficial for humans.
About 35 percent were optimistic about the idea and 45 percent believe genetic engineering could improve human capabilities.
Marcus du Sautoy, a professor at the University of Oxford, said: “The most optimistic part of the report is to see how engaged the public is with science.
“I think it shows an encouraging level of public understanding of science and the issues around it.”
The study also highlighted the number of people who are concerned by the effects of climate change.
About 67 percent of the public claimed climate change will have the greatest effect on the future of human civilisation.
At the same time, about 23 per cent of those polled claimed global warming is a hoax.
The findings were published ahead of the annual New Scientist Live conference in London, between September 20 and September 23.
The science conference will feature more than 120 speakers and 100 exhibitors in London’s Excel Centre.