Europeans and emerging technologies
IE’s Center for the Governance of Change has published its 2023 European Tech Insights, on the relationship between emerging technologies (AI, data economy...) and European citizens. The report shows the results of a survey on topics ranging from the role of the EU in technological development and regulation, to the potential impact of AI on society, to the willingness of Europeans to get brain implants to improve their capabilities. The report shows how society is ready for the introduction of automation and technology into their daily life, but is concerned about the impact on employment, privacy or inequality.
Main takeaways from the report:
- The internet should be open and global, but still regulated. According to the report, 91% of Europeans believe that the internet should be regulated, 66% of them thinking that rules should be global and open. 88% of respondents believe that the EU should play an active role in tech leadership, through the promotion of new technologies or a more competitive regulatory framework.
- AI has to be efficiently regulated in order to protect society and hold accountabilities for harm. In lockstep with the rapid evolution of AI, citizens' concerns about potential impacts are growing. 68% of Europeans defend that, in order to protect jobs from being technologically replaced, automation should be regulated. This is a clear consequence of the boost of generative AI in recent times; other revealing data is that only 27% of respondents believe they could detect AI-generated content.
- There is a widespread mistrust of the data economy. There is still no certainty among the population that their data is totally safe online, despite technological advances. 69% of respondents believe that it is safer to store personal information on physical devices than in the cloud, and 74% believe that they are more likely to be stolen online rather than in real life. Furthermore, data economy is seen as an exacerbator of economic inequality rather than an opportunity for social prosperity. However, Nearly a third of Europeans are willing to continue using apps that may pose a risk for their privacy, even if the EU advises against using them.
- The healthcare field generates the most confidence in technology. Although, as expected, the vast majority of Europeans trust a (human) doctor's diagnosis more than one from an AI system, science and health is where most trust is placed in technology. 58% answered that CRISPR technology (gene-editing) is likely to have positive outcomes, and more than a third of Europeans would get a brain implant that enhanced their cognitive abilities.