A Qualitative Approach to the Public Perception of AI


Alexander Hick and Martina Ziefle, RWTH Aachen University, Germany


Since the Dartmouth workshop on Artificial Intelligence coined the term, AI has been a topic ofevergrowing scientific and public interest. Understanding its impact on society is essential to avoid potential pitfalls in its applications. This study employed a qualitative approach to focus on the public’s knowledge of, and expectations for AI. We interviewed 25 participants in 30-minute interviews over a period of two months. In these interviews we investigated what people generally know about AI, what advantages and disadvantages they expect, and how much contact they have had with AI or AI based technology. Two main themes emerged: (1) a dystopian view about AI (e.g., ‘’the Terminator’’) and (2) an exaggerated or utopian attitude about the possibilities and abilities of AI. In conclusion, there needs to be accurate information, presentation, and education on AI and its potential impact in order to manage the expectations and actual capabilities.


Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, public perception, qualitative study, technology.