Fearing the Robot Apocalypse: Correlates of AI Anxiety

David J Lemay, Ram B Basnet, Tenzin Doleck


This study examines the relationship between individuals’ beliefs about AI (Artificial Intelligence) and levels of anxiety with respect to their technology readiness level. In this cross-sectional study, we surveyed 65 students 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 positively 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 immediate 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.


Artificial intelligence; anxiety; technology readiness contributors; technology readiness inhibitors; technology predispositions

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 David J Lemay, Ram B Basnet, Tenzin Doleck

International Journal of Learning Analytics and Artificial Intelligence for Education. ISSN: 2706-7564
Creative Commons License