International Journal of Social Robotics

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 379–384 | Cite as

Fear of Autonomous Robots and Artificial Intelligence: Evidence from National Representative Data with Probability Sampling

  • Yuhua LiangEmail author
  • Seungcheol Austin Lee


People vary in the extent to which they report fear toward robots, especially when they perceive that the robot is autonomous or has artificial intelligence. This research examines a specific form of sociological fear, which we name as fear of autonomous robots and artificial intelligence (FARAI). This fear may serve to affect how people will respond to and interact with robots. Applying data from a nationally representative dataset with probability sampling (N = 1541), research questions examine (1) the extent and frequency of FARAI, (2) demographic and media exposure predictors, and (3) correlates with other types of fear (i.e., loneliness, drones, and unemployment). A latent class analysis reveals that approximately 26% of participants reported experiencing a heightened level of FARAI. Demographic analyses show that FARAI is connected to participant sex, age, education, and household income; albeit these effects were small. Media exposure to science fiction predicts FARAI above and beyond the demographic variables. Correlational results indicate that FARAI is associated with other types of fear, including loneliness, becoming unemployed, and drone use. In sum, these findings render a much needed glimpse and update regarding how much individuals fear robots and artificial intelligence.


Fear Autonomous robots Artificial intelligence Survey National sample 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chapman UniversityOrangeUSA
  2. 2.Northern Kentucky UniversityHighland HeightsUSA

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