Most Americans want federal regulation of AI, poll shows

86% of Americans believe AI could accidentally cause a catastrophic event.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
US government building
Douglas Rissing/Getty Images

Although AI has existed for decades, ChatGPT took the technology's popularity to a new level, and as a result, AI research and applications are quickly evolving. However, since the widespread growth is so recent, there isn't much regulation around it yet, but people want there to be.

The Artificial Intelligence Policy Institute polled 1,001 US registered voters regarding their thoughts on AI. The results, shared exclusively with Axios, showed a general fear among the public. 

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Of the participants polled, 62% reported being somewhat or mostly "concerned" about AI, with 86% believing AI could accidentally cause a catastrophic event. 

How U.S. adults say they feel about growth in artificial intelligence graph by Axios
YouGov; Chart: Axios Visuals

This widespread concern has led people to advocate for safety measures such as slowing developments and establishing regulations. 

Despite wanting regulation, the voters are specific in who they want making the regulation with 56% of voters supporting a federal agency regulating AI and a whopping 82% saying they don't trust tech executives to regulate AI themselves. 

Regarding AI development, 72% of the voters said they would rather see the development of AI slow down, compared to the 8% who want to see it speed up. 

The public's sentiments in the poll parallel what we have seen experts share. For example, tech leaders such as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, "godfather" of AI Geoffrey Hinton, and even President Joe Biden have all talked about the dangers of AI or even called for AI regulation.  

Also: Five ways to use AI responsibly

OpenAI has even advocated for the creation of an international organization like the International Atomic Energy Agency dedicated to the topic of AI. The regulation established within the next year will be pivotal in creating safety boundaries and a precedent for the future of the ever-evolving technology. 

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