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Fearing the Robot Apocalypse: Correlates of AI Anxiety

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This study examines the relationship between individuals' be-liefs about AI (Artificial Intelligence) and levels of anxiety with respect to their technology readiness level. In this cross-sectional study, we surveyed 65 stu-dents at a southwestern US college. Using partial least squares analysis, we found that technology readiness contributors were significantly and positively related to only one AI anxiety factor: socio-technical illiteracy. In contrast, all four links between technology readiness inhibitors and AI anxiety factors were significant with medium effect sizes. Technology readiness inhibitors are posi-tively related to learning, fears of job replacement, socio-technical illiteracy, and particular AI configurations. Thus, we conclude that AI anxiety runs through a spectrum. It is influenced by real, practical consequences of immedi-ate effects of increased automatization but also by popular representations and discussions of the negative consequences of artificial general intelligence and killer robots and addressing technology readiness is unlikely to mitigate effects of AI anxiety.
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