Young people most worried about A.I. apocalypse

December 15, 2014, 4:03 PM GMT+0

Four out of ten under-30s think that artificial intelligence will probably lead to the end of the human race

Earlier this month prominent physicist Stephen Hawking warned that "the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." Artificial intelligence, generally speaking, would mean that computers are able to 'think' like humans and perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. Current applications of artificial intelligence can be seen in phones which are able to guess from context and history what words someone is trying to write in a text message, but professor Hawking worries that far into the future computers' intelligence will overtake humans'.

YouGov's latest research shows that when Americans are asked whether or not they agree with professor Hawking's prediction that the development of artificial intelligence could lead to the end of humanity, only 27% say that it 'probably would' while 50% say that it 'probably would not'. Younger Americans are much more likely than older Americans, however, to say that artificial intelligence will bring about the end of the human race. 38% of under-30s think that human life would be at risk from artificial intelligence, something only 17% of over-65s agree with.

Asked whether artificial intelligence will ever become a reality, a large majority of Americans (78%) do think that, some day, scientists will develop full artificial intelligence. 35% think that it's very likely, while 43% say that it's somewhat likely. 68% think that there it is at least somewhat likely that they will be alive when full artificial intelligence is developed, though only 21% of the public thinks that it is very likely to happen in their lifetime.

Full poll results can be found here.