a major technological revolution for the French but one that needs to be regulated, according to research

According to the 2024 Critical Thinking Barometer conducted by OpinionWay for Universcience, the majority of French people prefer artificial intelligence that still raises ethical and legal questions.

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For the majority of French people, artificial intelligence is a great technological revolution, but one that needs to be supervised and regulated, according to the 2024 Opinion Barometer. (indicative photo) (JEAN-MARC LOOS / MAXPPP)

Artificial intelligence (AI) applications are a major technological revolution for humanity, for six out of ten French people (61%), in the same way that, for example, the invention of printing was. This is according to the 2024 Critical Thinking Barometer produced by OpinionWay for Universcience published on Thursday, March 21.

But for more than eight in ten French people (85%), it is necessary to supervise and regulate their use, because for three quarters of respondents (77%), they raise new ethical and legal questions in terms of responsibility and rights. .

When it comes to the possibilities offered by these technologies, 68% of respondents believe that AI applications cannot make autonomous decisions, since they follow set computer programs. 59% of the French believe that they are not creative and innovative because they collect already existing content. According to this survey, only 19% of respondents believe that they are completely trustworthy. As for whether AIs are more neutral than humans, the group studied is more divided. 42% say yes, they are more neutral, while 38% think they are not.

The risks and benefits of artificial intelligence depend on the areas of application

The survey also challenges the French's vision of the benefits and risks associated with artificial intelligence. And they remain quite divided, generally believing that there are both risks and benefits to using these apps. In detail, it is the perception of risk that dominates the field of human relations. 37% of French people feel this way, while 31% believe that there are both risks and benefits to the use of artificial intelligence in human relationships. 10% see it mainly as advantages. IT risk is also dominant for information (33%) and employment (31%), although 34% of respondents also see as many risks as benefits for these two areas.

The French perception is also very diverse on the contribution of artificial intelligence to health, research, science and transport. Apps have as many risks as benefits in health (35%), science and scientific research (36%) and transportation (33%). But it is in these three areas that respondents see the most advantages. 29% perceive this advantage for health, 28% for science and scientific research and 26% for transport.

The survey also reveals that the French mainly rely on artificial intelligence to detect errors in texts or computer programs, for 75% of respondents, they analyze large amounts of data (73%), find information (70%), deepen their knowledge ( 65% ), or even write a text (64%). Instead, they are more suspicious when it comes to accountability. Only a quarter of respondents (25%) trust AI applications to make legal decisions. 28% assure that artificial intelligence can confidently fly a plane or drive a car (34%). And 33% trust AI to prescribe medication or make a medical diagnosis (41%).

Scientists, museums and expert journalists are considered reliable for evaluating artificial intelligence

Finally, to assess the risks and benefits of artificial intelligence, the French trust above all scientists, museums and specialized journalists. Barometer respondents mostly prefer scientists and researchers in general (68%), museums and centers of scientific culture (59%) and science journalists (56%). But respondents remain highly suspicious of the companies. Only 34% trust them and even 29% for digital companies like Gafam. Distrust of elected officials or political representatives is also strong. Only 22% of French people trust them to assess the risks and benefits of artificial intelligence. The trust score of influencers and public figures is also low, at 17%.

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The 2024 Critical Thinking Barometer produced by OpinionWay for Universcience was carried out with an online questionnaire from January 31 to February 12, among a sample of 2,004 people, representative of the French population aged 18 and over.

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