A majority of Americans believe that the rise of artificial intelligence technology could put humanity's future in jeopardy, according to a poll published on Wednesday.

Iran PressAmerica: The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that over two-thirds of respondents are anxious about the adverse effects of AI, while 61 percent consider it a potential threat to civilization.

The online poll, conducted from May 9 to May 15, sampled the opinions of 4,415 US adults. It has a credibility interval (a measure of accuracy) of plus or minus two percentage points.

The poll results come amid the expansion of generative AI use in education, government, medicine, and business, triggered in part by the explosive growth of OpenAI's ChatGPT, which is reportedly the fastest-growing software application of all time.

The application's success has set off a technology hype race among tech giants such as Microsoft and Google, which stand to benefit from having something new and buzzy to potentially increase their share prices.

Fears about AI, justified or not, have been rumbling through the public discourse lately due to high-profile events such as the "AI pause" letter and Geoffery Hinton resigning from Google.

In a recent high-profile case of AI apprehension, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman testified before US Congress on Tuesday, expressing his concerns about the potential misuse of AI technology and calling for regulation that, according to critics, may help his firm retain its technological lead and suppress competition.

Lawmakers seem to share some of these concerns, with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) observing, "There's no way to put this genie in the bottle. Globally, this is exploding," Reuters reported.

This negative scare messaging seems to be having an impact. Americans' fears over AI's potential for harm far outweigh optimism about its benefits, with those predicting adverse outcomes outnumbering those who don't by three to one. "According to the data, 61% of respondents believe that AI poses risks to humanity, while only 22% disagreed, and 17% remained unsure," wrote Reuters.


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