Press release №2357
20.08.2021
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: BENEFITS OR THREATS?

IN BRIEF

  • 48% of Russians say they trust the AI technology
  • 10% failed to give a definite answer
  • 79% of Russians consider that the government should promote the AI technologies.

JULY 7, 2021. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) and “National Priorities” Autonomous Non-Profit Organization present the findings of a survey on the Russian attitudes towards Artificial Intelligence in the framework of the “Artificial Intelligence” federal project as part of the “Digital Economy” national project. The federal project is operated by Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development.

 

An overwhelming majority of Russians (81%) are aware of what Artificial Intelligence (AI) is referred to*; 32% say they can explain the meaning; 18% do not know what it means. Those who are well informed are young Russians (38-39%), Russians with higher education diplomas (49%), and residents of Moscow and St Petersburg (48%). Those who are less likely to know what AI stands for are respondents aged 60 and older (22%) and women (21%).

When choosing an answer from the list, most of respondents said that AI embraces technologies imitating human cognitive functions (30%), intelligent machines or programs (27%), and self-learning algorithms (26%).

Almost half of Russians (48%) say they trust the artificial intelligence technologies (69% among young respondents aged 18-22); 42% of Russians do not trust them; 10% are undecided.

A third of Russians (33%, +3 p.p. compared to 2019) are afraid of AI taking people’s jobs; 64% of respondents are not afraid of that.

Two-thirds of Russians (67%; 84% among the 18-24-year-olds) would use the opportunity to apply AI in order to decrease the work load and keep the same income; 29% would not use it (38% among those who are afraid of AI taking people’s jobs).

Half of Russians (50%) would like to go through an AI course within the next two or three years (33% would do that to extend their knowledge; 49% have no intention to do that.

A vast majority of Russians (94%) believe that AI in health must find alternatives to solve a problem but the final decision should be left to humans; 3% would trust AI with decision-making. When asked a similar question related to the application of AI in education, 92% asked that the final decision should be made by humans; 5% would trust decision-making with AI.

Most of Russians (79%) consider that the state should promote the development of AI technologies. The major state policies should be as follows: providing financial assistance to companies developing AI technologies (37%), introducing AI technologies in the system of public services (36%), launching and funding professional training programs (35%).

According to 44% of Russians, the use of AI in decision-making within public and municipal administration would lead to fairer decisions (52% among persons aged 60 +); 24% point to a decrease in costs (29% among the 45-59-year-olds); 22% say it will lead to rightsizing (33% of young respondents aged 18-24; 31% among persons with higher education diplomas).

*AI technologies are programs capable of imitating human behavior to perform cognitive tasks such as information analysis, speech and object recognition, forecasting etc., and capable of gradually learning by using the information collected.

Russian nationwide survey was conducted by VCIOM on June 2-3, 2021, and commissioned by National Priorities Autonomous Non-Profit Organization. A total of 1,600 of Russians aged 18 and older took part in the survey. Results are based on telephone interviews (CATI). Sample is based on a complete list of Russian telephone numbers. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 2.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes to the wording of questions and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

Did you hear before or do you hear for the first time about the artificial intelligence technologies? If you did, will you be able to explain what it is if needed, or not? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Ages 18-24 Ages 25-34 Ages 35-44 Ages 45-59 60+
I heard before; I can explain 32 39 38 35 35 22
I heard before but I cannot explain what it is 49 48 43 52 46 55
I hear for the first time about it 18 13 19 12 19 22
Don’t know 1 0 0 1 0 1

 

In your opinion, AI is likely … (closed-ended question, up to 2 answers, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents
Technologies imitating human thinking 30
Intelligent machines or programs   27
Self-learning algorithms 26
Ordinary programs or mechanisms not related to mind 22
Overmind exceeding human performance 6
I do not know what  it is 4
Other   1
Don’t know 8

 

Are you more likely to trust or not to trust the AI technology?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Ages 18-24 Ages 25-34 Ages 35-44 Ages 45-59 60+
Likely to trust 48 69 52 42 45 44
Likely not to trust 42 27 40 49 43 44
Don’t know 10 4 8 9 12 12

 

 

Are you personally afraid, or not afraid, that in the future a number of tasks in your job/your area will be performed by AI technologies and not a human? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  2019* 2021

Definitely afraid

30

13

Likely afraid 20
Likely not afraid 68 29
Definitely not afraid 35
Don’t know 2 3

*In 2019, the answer options were “likely afraid”, “likely not afraid” and “don’t know”.  

Are you personally afraid, or not afraid, that in the future a number of tasks in your job/your area will be performed by AI technologies and not a human? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Moscow and St Petersburg Million-plus cities 500-950 thousand inhabitants 100—500 thousand inhabitants Up to 100 thousand inhabitants Rural area
Definitely afraid 13 8 12 7 14 20 8
Likely afraid 20 17 14 22 21 22 17
Likely not afraid 29 36 33 32 25 25 36
Definitely not afraid 35 37 38 37 38 28 37
Don’t know 3 2 3 2 2 5 2

 

If you had an opportunity to work less keeping your income at the same level through the use of AI, would you use this opportunity or not?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Ages 18-24 Ages 25-34 Ages 35-44 Ages 45-59 60+
Likely to use 67 84 67 66 65 65
Likely not to use 29 15 29 31 31 30
Don’t know 4 1 4 3 4 5

 

Would you personally like to complete an AI training course within the next 2-3 years, or not?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents
Yes, I would like to improve my current skills in this area 5
Yes, I would like to gain qualification  in this area 12
Yes, to broaden my mind 33
No, I would not like to complete an AI course 49
Don’t know 1

 

Please choose the statement that suit your opinion the best … (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents
AI in healthcare must give a variety of solutions to a problem, but the decision should be made by the human   94
AI in healthcare must take decisions without human’s participation 3
Don’t know 3

 

Please choose the statement that suit your opinion the best … (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents
AI in education must give a variety of solutions to a problem, but the decision should be made by the human  92
AI in education must take decisions without human’s participation 5
Don’t know 3

 

If the decision-making in public and municipal administration is carried out by means of AI, the decision being taken should primarily result in… (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Ages 18-24 Ages 25-34 Ages 35-44 Ages 45-59 60+
Lower costs 24 21 21 23 29 22
Rightsizing 22 33 28 26 20 12
Justice 44 43 42 40 40 52
Don’t know 10 3 9 11 11 14

 

In your opinion, should the state develop AI technologies, or not? If so, in what way? (closed-ended question, any number of answers, % of total respondents, answers of at least 2% of respondents)
  Total respondents
To provide financial assistance to companies developing AI technologies  37
To introduce AI technologies into the public service system   36
To create and fund professional training programs 35
To support personnel retraining programs 34
To introduce AI technologies in public healthcare and public education   32
To develop and improve AI applications laws / to carry out control 31
To encourage organizations to introduce AI technologies   28
The state should not promote the development of AI technology 9
Other 3
Don’t know 12

Note: Using materials from the site www.wciom.ru or wciom.com, as well as distributed by VCIOM, the reference to the source (or hyperlink for the electronic media) is obligatory. 

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