What Americans think about creating a new federal agency to oversee the robots

Robots are seeping their way into everyday life, but Americans are split on what the U.S. Federal Government should do about it.

Forecasts of major job losses in the decades to come, as well as dire warnings from leading scientific thinkers — like Elon Musk and the late Stephen Hawking about superintelligence that may surpass human abilities — haven’t led a majority of Americans to support the idea of creating a Federal Robotics Commission, at least not yet.

“People are wondering what this is going to mean for their jobs, how they’re going to earn a living, and what it will mean for their children,” said Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institute, which recently released a survey about Americans’ views on robotics this week.

The survey was undertaken by researchers at the Brookings Institution through an online U.S. national poll of 2,021 adult internet users between June 4 and 6, 2018. Responses were weighted by gender, age and region to match the demographics of the national internet population as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

“People see the march towards robotics accelerating,” West said. “They think that robots are going to become quite common in the coming decades, and they’re worried about what it means for the economy and society in general.”

Photo: Boston Dynamics