A recent Kyodo News poll reveals that a significant majority of the Japanese public is concerned about the widespread use of AI chatbots, with 69.4% advocating for tighter regulations on artificial intelligence development.
As emerging technologies like ChatGPT raise fears over unauthorized personal data collection, the call for international standards to prevent misuse has grown louder.
Public concerns amid AI advancements
The poll, conducted via telephone, found that concerns in Japan extend beyond AI chatbots.
With the country set to downgrade the legal status of COVID-19 on May 8th to the same level as common infectious diseases such as seasonal influenza, 63.7% of respondents expressed worry about a potential resurgence of infections. Only 36.3% dismissed these concerns.
Despite lifting pandemic-related border controls for all arrivals on Saturday and the beginning of the annual Golden Week holiday, many people in Japan are remaining cautious about travel.
The poll found that 61.7% of respondents have not traveled and have no plans to do so during the holiday period. Experts have warned that Japan could face a “ninth wave” of the pandemic, potentially more severe than previous ones.
Approval ratings and government policies
Amid these concerns, the approval rating for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet has risen to 46.6%, up 8.5 points from the previous survey conducted in mid-March.
The disapproval rating stands at 35.5%. However, Kishida’s government faces opposition to some of its policies, with 56.3% opposing the plan to raise social security premiums to fund measures aimed at combating the country’s declining birthrate. Only 38.8% approve of the plan.
The telephone survey reached out to 510 randomly selected households with eligible voters on landline phones and 2,461 mobile phone numbers. Responses were obtained from 426 households and 620 mobile phone users.
The future of AI regulation in Japan
As AI technologies continue to advance and permeate various aspects of daily life, it is crucial for governments like Japan’s to address public concerns and establish robust regulatory frameworks.
Stricter regulations on AI development could help assuage fears about personal data misuse and mitigate potential negative impacts on society.
To ensure the responsible and ethical use of AI, the establishment of international standards may be necessary. By collaborating with other countries and technology companies, Japan could play a pivotal role in shaping the future of AI governance on a global scale.
The results of this poll demonstrate that the Japanese public is not only concerned about AI chatbots but also about broader issues such as public health and government policies.
As the country navigates the challenges brought forth by emerging technologies and ongoing pandemic concerns, the government will need to balance innovation with the need to protect and reassure its citizens.