A new poll from POLITICO|Morning Consult has revealed that registered voters in California are split on their expectations for the impact of artificial intelligence on their lives and jobs. The poll, conducted in December, found that 43 percent of voters expect AI to have a positive impact, while 39 percent anticipate a negative impact, and 18 percent expect no impact at all.
The findings come as California lawmakers prepare to consider a number of proposals to regulate artificial intelligence when they return to Sacramento for the new session. Labor and equity groups have expressed concerns about the potential for AI to displace workers and pose threats to vulnerable communities, and the poll indicates that roughly half of the state’s registered voters share these worries.
Specifically, about half of registered voters expressed concern about their jobs being replaced by AI in the next five years. Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan emphasized the need for a balanced approach to regulating artificial intelligence, stating, “Californians should not be forced to sacrifice their privacy or their safety when they access any tool, no matter how useful.”
Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent veto of a bill that would have required a human safety driver in self-driving trucks has put the labor-backed bills to limit the impact on workers at the forefront. With California’s Silicon Valley at the epicenter of the AI boom, the state’s actions are likely to set the tone for national standards in the absence of meaningful laws from Congress.
President Joe Biden has made incremental progress on AI regulation, but the focus is now on California’s legislators to consider a balanced approach to regulating AI and addressing concerns about its impact on workers and vulnerable communities.