Guess Which Gender Trusts Artificial Intelligence More?


As the government deploys artificial intelligence tools, it may need to address a gender gap in trust.

A majority of people are skeptical of the government adopting artificial intelligence tools to manage its citizen services, but more men than women say they are comfortable with the technological shift, according to a new survey.

In a report published by Accenture, one-third of men said they trusted AI to manage their health care, while only 20 percent of women felt the same way. Though the gender gap was widest for health care, researchers found that in six different categories of citizen services, men trusted A.I. technology more than women did.

The online survey was conducted by McGuire Research Services in January 2017 and included 500 people living in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Though agencies have already begun delegating some of their repetitive tasks to artificial intelligence, the overall results show a sizable portion of the public distrusts the use of such tools in government services that directly involve citizens.

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Both genders felt roughly the same about using AI to register to vote, with 46 percent of men and 45 percent of women saying they trusted such government tools. Men also indicated they had slightly more confidence than women in AI issuing government IDs and handling customer service, though the genders varied by five percentage points or less for both topics.

However, when it came to government financial services the gender gap widened significantly.

More than 40 percent of men trusted artificial intelligence to handle their taxes, only 34 percent of women felt the same way. Results revealed an even starker contrast when it came to AI being used to handle benefits, with 39 percent of men giving such tools the thumbs up, compared to only 27 percent of women.

The survey also revealed a significant generational gap in people’s trust in artificial intelligence. Millennials were 13 percentage points more likely than baby boomers to entrust their taxes to A.I., and more than half the millennial responders were also content to use A.I. in voter registration compared to only 36 percent of boomers.

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