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IE University research reveals 1 in 2 Europeans want to replace national MPs with robots

IE University research on replacing MPs with robots

The report surveyed citizens from 11 countries and focuses on attitudes towards how technology is shaping our lives in terms of automation, democracy and the influence of Big Tech companies in Europe including the UK, the US and China.

IE University’s Tech Insights Report, produced by the University’s Center for the Governance of Change, suggests a growing acceptance and adoption of technology among European audiences, following a year in lockdown.

The findings reveal that European and UK citizens are changing their attitudes and are becoming more willing to make concessions in terms of privacy and approve of the use of AI, particularly in politics with over 50% of Europeans wanting to replace their national MPs with algorithms.

The report surveyed citizens from 11 countries and focuses on attitudes towards how technology is shaping our lives in terms of automation, democracy and the influence of Big Tech companies in Europe including the UK, the US and China.

The research found growing support towards increased adoption of AI and new uses of technology:

  • 51% of Europeans and 31% of Brits support replacing parliamentarian seats with AI algorithms
  • A vast majority of Europeans (72%) and Brits (64%) would like to vote in elections through their phones
  • One third of Europeans would prefer that AI algorithms decide their social welfare payments or approve their visa for working in a foreign country, rather than a human civil servant
  • More than a third of Europeans and almost a quarter of Brits would prefer to have a package delivered to them by a robot rather than a human
  • 42% of Europeans and 40% of Brits support the use of facial technology for verifying the identity of citizens

The report also found a trend towards scepticism of Big Tech, with individuals supporting stronger regulation around it.

  • Over 65% of Europeans and 69% of Brits are in favour of a tech tax on technology companies
  • Compared to last year, more Europeans (42%) and Brits (40%) think that governments should limit the size of the GAFA companies, or even de-escalate them
  • Brits are overwhelmingly against Facebook becoming a private messaging behemoth and merging its apps

“This year, we have seen significantly more negative perceptions of the Big Tech companies and their role in society.”

Oscar Jonsson, Academic Director of the IE Center for the Governance of Change

Oscar Jonsson, Academic Director of the IE Center for the Governance of Change, commented: “More Europeans than ever want to limit or deescalate them and tax them more. At the same time, the pandemic has increased our reliance on the goods they provide and digitalisation more broadly. This emphasises the duality of need of digital goods, but also the growing unease of the mostly unregulated space they are operating in.”