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One in four Europeans favor Artificial Intelligence making policy decisions over politicians, according to IE University report

According to IE University’s ‘European Tech Insights 2019’, 70% of respondents called for politicians to take strong policy measures.

One in four Europeans would prefer artificial intelligence to make important to decisions about the running of their country. This is one of the conclusions of the European Tech Insights 2019 presented by IE University and developed by the newly launched Center for the Governance of Change (CGC).

The European Tech Insights 2019, explores how the general public across eight European countries (France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom) feel about the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the wave of technological transformation. The survey results show that Europeans think that the governance of new technologies is one of the biggest challenges for EU politicians.

A significant finding from the report is that one in four Europeans would prefer artificial intelligence to make important to decisions about the running of their country. Amid the vagaries of Brexit and current questions around the European model of representative democracy, the results tellingly reflect significant levels of disillusion towards politicians. In the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom, the percentage is even higher – with one in three admitting they’d prefer a machine determining the direction of their country rather than a human.

Diego Rubio, Executive Director of the Center for the Governance of Change said: “This mindset, which probably relates to the growing mistrust citizens feel towards governments and politicians, constitutes a significant questioning of the European model of representative democracy, since it challenges the very notion of popular sovereignty.”

The research also highlights a strange paradox, that while the public are disillusioned with their government and favor AI in the driving seat, people are deeply fearful of advancements in tech particularly increased automation. 70% of respondents called for politicians to take strong policy measures to curb automation and tackle job displacement, even if that means slowing technological progress.

The research by IE University’s Centre for the Governance of Change highlights the vision of Europeans about how technology will affect people’s lives, their jobs and their political systems.

Other key findings include:

  • The majority (56%) of Europeans are worried that robots may substitute most human jobs.
  • 70% of Europeans of all ages believe that, if they are not appropriately controlled, new technologies will cause more harm than good in society in the coming decade. This belief is leading to a growing resistance to innovation and to a general demand for more regulation.
  •  67% of Europeans think that the governance of new technologies is, with climate change, the biggest challenge the EU faces right now.
  • On top of the challenges on the job market, Europeans anticipate a change in their social lives: over two thirds of Europeans surveyed (68%) found it concerning that people will spend more time socializing online than in person in the future.

The survey also suggests that people not only worry about the incoming technological transition, but also feel that the institutions tasked with this process are failing. Most of the people surveyed (60%) felt that the educational system is not training them to tackle the challenges brought about by new technologies. This is particularly true for older university graduates who find themselves rudderless in a fast-changing job market. Moreover, many said that companies are not adapting to the new age with 40% of respondents stating the company they work for will disappear in the next 10 years unless they implement profound and fast changes.

“The vast majority of Europeans expect their governments to set new laws and taxes to limit automation and prevent job displacement, even if that means slowing down economic progress. These results are consistent across countries, age groups, genders and, perhaps more surprisingly, ideologies. And yet, these kinds of measures are currently out of the political debate”, Diego Rubio added.

The CGC produces pioneering research that cuts across disciplines and methodologies to unveil the complexity of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Blockchain, and Robotics. CGC also runs several executive programs on emerging tech for public institutions and companies interested in expanding their understanding of disruptive trends, and a series of outreach activities aimed at improving the general public’s awareness and agency over the coming changes. Its overarching purpose is to help build a more prosperous and sustainable society for all.

For more information and to review the full results of the European Tech Insights 2019, please visit this link.