Canadians Divided on what Artificial Intelligence Will Bring

While 46% regard the new technology as “a threat”, 40% see it as “an opportunity” for humanity.

Vancouver, BC [October 11, 2023] – The future of artificial intelligence (AI) is splitting views across Canada, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 46% of Canadians think AI is “a threat”, while 40% consider it “an opportunity” for humanity.

On a regional basis, belief in AI as an opportunity for humanity is highest in Alberta (45%), followed by British Columbia (44%), Quebec (also 44%), Ontario (41%), Atlantic Canada (40%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (30%).

“More than a third of Canadians in the lowest income bracket (36%) think of artificial intelligence as an opportunity,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The proportions are significantly higher among respondents in the other income brackets (each at 44%).”

Three-in-five Canadians (60%) have followed news stories about AI “very closely” or “moderately closely” over the past year—including 67% of those aged 18-to-34 and 66% of those aged 35-to-54.

At least seven-in-ten Canadians are “very concerned” or “moderately concerned” about three issues: AI causing an event that leads to the loss of human life (70%), AI leading to less intelligent students at schools of universities (73%) and AI taking over jobs currently performed by humans (77%).

The notion of AI eventually producing less intelligent students is a concern for 75% of women, 77% of Canadians aged 55 and over and 79% of Conservative Party voters in the 2021 federal election.

At this stage, Canadians are not particularly confident in politicians to develop and manage AI. Only 34% trust the federal government. The rating is similar for provincial governments (33%) and lower for international governments (22%).

About three-in-five Canadians express confidence in doctors and nurses (62%) and universities (59%) to develop and manage AI. The rating is lower for tech executives (40%) and business executives and CEOs (24%).

Most Canadians (55%) are currently in favour of slowing down the development of AI. Smaller proportions would prefer to continue to develop AI as quickly as possible (20%) or abandon its development altogether (13%).

Methodology:Results are based on an online study conducted on September 27 and September 28, 2023, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.