AI Anxiety

Deborah Johnson, Mario Verdicchio

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
428 Downloads (Pure)


Recently a number of well-known public figures have expressed concern about the future development of artificial intelligence (AI), by noting that AI could get out of control and affect human beings and society in disastrous ways. Many of these cautionary notes are alarmist and unrealistic, and while there has been some pushback on these concerns, the deep flaws in the thinking that leads to them have not been called out. Much of the fear and trepidation is based on misunderstanding and confusion about what AI is and can ever be. In this work we identify 3 factors that contribute to this “AI anxiety”: an exclusive focus on AI programs that leaves humans out of the picture, confusion about autonomy in computational entities and in humans, and an inaccurate conception of technological development. With this analysis we argue that there are good reasons for anxiety about AI but not for the reasons typically given by AI alarmists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2267-2270
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number9
Early online date22 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • philosophy of science
  • Future


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