Can artificial intelligence write its own programs? Is there AI in your TV remote control? Researchers at Seattle’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence say that knowing the right answers to such questions is an essential part of being literate in our tech-driven society — and that most of us would get a failing grade.
A national survey, involving 1,547 adult Americans who were given a 20-question quiz about AI’s capabilities, found that only 16% of the test takers scored a passing grade of better than 60% on the quiz.
“The majority of Americans are AI illiterate,” Nicole DeCario and Oren Etzioni report today in a posting to PNW.ai, an information service provided by the institute, also known as AI2. Etzioni is AI2’s CEO, while DeCario leads AI2’s special projects team.
The researchers acknowledge that the extent of AI illiteracy shouldn’t be surprising. “AI is not part of our schools’ curricula, and the main source of information about it today, according to our survey, is YouTube and social media,” they write.
However, they argue that a basic understanding of how AI works is “critical for informing everyday decisions, adopting appropriate economic policies and maintaining national security.”