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Lero Researchers Seek Public’s Views on AI and Software

Will artificial intelligence (AI) end civilisation? Researchers at Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software, and University College Cork, are seeking help determining the public’s views and knowledge about AI and software more generally.

Psychologist Dr Sarah Robinson, a senior postdoctoral researcher with Lero, is asking members of the public to take part in a ten-minute anonymised online survey to establish what peoples’ hopes and fears are for AI and software in general. 

The UCC-based researcher said, “as the experts debate, little attention is given to what the public thinks – and the debate is raging. Some AI experts express concern that others prioritise imagined apocalyptic scenarios over immediate concerns – such as racist and sexist biases being programmed into machines. As software impacts all our lives, the public is a key stakeholder in deciding what being responsible for software should mean. So, that’s why we want to find out what the public is thinking.”

Dr Robinson said that, for example, human rights abuses are happening through AI and facial recognition software, continuing, “research by my Lero colleague Dr Abeba Birhane and others found that data used to train some AI is contaminated with racist and misogynist language. As AI becomes widespread, the use of biased data may lead to harm and further marginalisation for already marginalised groups.”

“While there is a lot in the media about AI, especially ChatGPT, and what kind of world it is creating, there is less information about how the public perceives the software all around us, from social media to streaming services and beyond. We are interested in understanding the public’s point of view ­– what concerns the public have, what are their priorities in terms of making software responsible and ethical, and the thoughts and ideas they have to make this a reality?”

Participants in the survey will be asked for their views and possible concerns on a range of issues and topics, with the hope of clarifying their views on critical issues. Lero is asking members of the public to donate 10 minutes of their time for this short survey.

Source: Science Foundation Ireland

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