Us vs. Them: Understanding Fear of Artificial Intelligence with a Case Study of Google DeepMind Challenge Match
Various forms of artificial intelligence (AI), such as Apple’s Siri and Google Now, have permeated our everyday lives. However, the advent of such “human-like” technology has stirred both awe and a great deal of fear. Many consider it a woe to have an unimaginable future where human intelligence is exceeded by AI. This paper investigates how people perceive and understand AI with a case study of the Google DeepMind Challenge Match, a Go match between Lee Sedol and AlphaGo, in March 2016. This study explores the underlying and changing perspectives toward AI as users experienced this historic event. Interviews with 22 participants show that users tacitly refer to AlphaGo as an “other” as if it were comparable to a human, while dreading that it would come back to them as a potential existential threat. Our work illustrates a confrontational relationship between users and AI, and suggests the need to prepare for a new kind of user experience in this nascent socio-technological change. It calls for a collaborative research effort from the HCI community to study and accommodate users for a future where they interact with algorithms, not just interfaces.