Ipsos: Citizens OK with govt use of AI and face recognition


Two thirds of adults across 26 countries support the use of artificial intelligence and facial recognition by their government to maintain order in the country, but only under certain circumstances and subject to strict regulations.

Only 19% say it should be allowed as much as needed, even at the risk of citizens giving up their privacy. At the other end of the spectrum, 16% say that it should not be allowed under any circumstances in order to fully guarantee everyone’s privacy at all times.

These are some of the findings of a survey of 20,107 adults from 26 countries conducted for the World Economic Forum on Ipsos’s Global Advisor online platform between May 24 and June 7. Support for a limited and restricted government use of AI and facial recognition in order to maintain order is held by a majority of citizens in every single country surveyed, ranging from 54% in Sweden to 74% in Malaysia.

Support for allowing government use AI and facial recognition as much as needed, even at the risk of citizens giving up their privacy, ranges as much as 32% in India and 30% in Sweden to just 10% in Japan, 11% in Hungary and 12% in Canada. Globally, males (22%) are more likely to be of this opinion than females (17%).

Those who prefer a total ban make up at most one quarter of the public in any country: 24% in Germany and 23% in Great Britain, but only 6% in Peru and 9% in South Korea. Globally, people with a lower level of education (19%) are more likely to support banning government use of AI and facial recognition under any circumstances than are people with a university-level education (12%).

These are the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos for the World Economic Forum. Ipsos interviewed a total of 19,106 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, and 16-74 in 21 other countries on its Global Advisor online survey platform between May 24 and June 7, 2019. The sample consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Great Britain and the U.S., and 500 individuals in each of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey. The samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.S. can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population under the age of 75. 

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