Artificial Intelligence
Artificial IntelligenceiStock

A new survey by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that most Americans are concerned that emerging AI technologies could worsen hate and harassment in society.

Three-quarters of Americans believe that it is likely generative artificial intelligence (GAI) tools such as ChatGPT will be “misused or abused” to further hate or harassment, the ADL survey found. The poll by the ADL Center for Technologoy & Society queried over 1,000 US adults and found that respondents overwhelmingly supported interventions, including Congressional mandates on AI technology, to mitigate the risk of its misuse for nefarious purposes.

While most believe GAI has the potential to improve people’s lives, they also worry the tools will be used to produce biased content, with 70 percent agreeing that GAI tools will likely increase extremism, hate and antisemitism in the US.

“If we’ve learned anything from other new technologies, we must protect against the potential risk for extreme harm from generative AI before it’s too late,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “We join with most Americans in being deeply concerned about the potential for these platforms to exacerbate already high levels of antisemitism and hate in our society, and the risk that they will be misused to spread misinformation and fuel extremism.”

According to the report, a majority of Americans believe civil society should have the ability to audit generative AI tools, with 85 percent agreeing that academics or civil society groups “should have access to review or audit the tools to make sure they are properly constructed.”

The survey was released to coincide with a Senate hearing on the issue. At the meeting, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and other officials are expected to provide testimony about the potential risks posed by AI chatbots and other generative technologies.

In an article on their website titled “Six Pressing Questions We Must Ask About Generative AI,” ADL called on policymakers and industry professionals to “implement safeguards to prevent the technology from being weaponized to sow disinformation or harassment, or to fuel extremism.”

“There’s no doubt that many exciting technological advancements are possible with the increased access to GAI,” said Yael Eisenstat, vice president of the ADL Center for Technology & Society. “But this technology may be abused to further accelerate hate, harassment and extremism online. As lawmakers and industry leaders prioritize innovation, they must also address these challenges to prevent their misuse. We look forward to working with policymakers, industry leaders and researchers as they establish standards for GAI.”