The study provides insights into the moods and opinions of adult internet users in Germany on artificial intelligence (AI). The representative results show, among other things, how widespread knowledge about AI is, whether AI is perceived more as an opportunity or a danger and how the role of Germany as a business location is assessed in terms of AI. The survey also asked whether the respondents consider more state regulation and control of AI to be necessary. A key finding is that only a few respondents have a deeper understanding of AI.
The most important facts in brief
Advancing digitalisation is affecting more and more areas of life. In the future, artificial intelligence (AI) in particular will influence how tasks are done or decisions are made. Politicians in various countries have recognised the importance of AI and formulated national strategies to promote this key technology.
What the moods and opinions are on AI in Germany was investigated by bidt in a short representative online survey of 1,000 adult internet users. The results show:
Knowledge about AI: A deep understanding does not yet exist
In a self-assessment, around three quarters of internet users in Germany state that they do not have a deeper understanding of the term AI. This proportion is lower among younger respondents than among older ones.
Many of the respondents do not trust themselves to make any assessments. Between 20% and 25% of the respondents do not give an opinion on the AI-specific questions asked in the survey. This proportion is higher among women than among men.
AI — danger or opportunity: The majority of respondents see AI as an opportunity and not as a danger
However, the assessments vary with age and level of education. In the age group of 35-54 year-olds in mid-career, the assessments of AI as a danger or an opportunity are more or less balanced. Among people with a low or medium level of formal education, the assessment of AI as a threat predominates.
International competition for AI: Germany is not currently seen as a pioneer
China, followed by Japan and the USA are named as leaders in the field of AI significantly more often than Germany.
There is a widespread view that Germany is in danger of being left behind in international competition as a business location. Around half of all respondents agree with this statement. Among those with a higher formal education, the figure is as high as two-thirds.
Regulation of AI: Respondents call for more regulation and control
About half of adult internet users in Germany would like to see more state control and regulation of AI. Only one in seven is of the opposite opinion.
The results show that large parts of the population in Germany know little about AI. Policymakers should therefore focus on knowledge transfer and education. It will not be enough to address only decision-makers in science and industry or professionals who are willing to continue their education. Rather, knowledge needs to be communicated to all groups of the population in order to achieve an enlightened approach to AI and greater acceptance of AI.
Online courses aimed at broad sections of the population are one way of providing broad education on AI. However, as a successful example from Finland shows, policymakers also need to promote such courses widely in partnership with the private sector and motivate the population to participate widely.
Those respondents who are confident in their assessment see, on the one hand, dangers for Germany as a business location in the field of AI. This speaks in favour of political interventions that build on Germany’s strengths and address its weaknesses in order to lead to positive economic effects. On the other hand, the respondents also express a clear desire for more state control and regulation of AI. Thus, the promotion of AI should not be equated with unreflective support of a broad use of AI, especially in critical areas. In the political endeavour to make Germany, but also Europe, a leading location for AI, the fears and concerns of the population must also be taken into account. The German government’s AI strategy and the White Paper on AI recently presented by the European Commission contain important approaches to this. These must now be concretised and implemented. In addition to mobilising private investment in AI and improving technology transfer, ethical, data protection and other regulatory aspects are also important. In order to create trust among the population, cooperation should also be intensified at the European level and a patchwork of measures in Europe avoided.