Artificial Intelligence, Morality, and Sentience (AIMS) 2021

Published: 21 March 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/x5689yhv2n.1
, Jamie Harris,


The project was designed by Janet Pauketat, Ali Ladak, Jamie Harris, and Jacy Reese Anthis and was preregistered on the OSF ( Background: In November and December 2021, Sentience Institute ( conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,232 U.S. American adults about the moral consideration, social integration, and sentience of AIs. Objective: One purpose of the 2021 AIMS survey is to provide a baseline from which to track how the public’s opinion on this topic changes over time. Another purpose of this survey is to test the predictions of researchers and forecasters on this topic. Methods: The sample was recruited by Ipsos ( based on census estimates from the 2019 American Community Survey ( Details about the survey materials, hypotheses, and preregistered analyses are available in the preregistration. Results: More people are uncertain about whether artificial sentience (AS) is possible (41.53%) than believe that sentience is (34.82%) or is not (23.65%) possible. Some people think that AS already exists (18.06%). Overall, people predict a 59.97% chance that robots/AIs will be sentient in the next 100 years. Aggregate responses were within Sentience Institute’s 80% credible intervals for 69% (53/77) of the items. We overestimated 6 items and underestimated 18 items. Prediction details and demographic information are available in the supplemental file. Additional results from the preregistered analyses and other exploratory analyses are on Sentience Institute’s website. Limitations: Additional census-balancing (i.e., weighting the data) is recommended where possible given that some categories could not be fully census-balanced during recruitment (e.g., income, education). We increased the stopping point for sampling during recruitment to account for some unexpected issues with recruiting respondents from some categories. Conclusions: The 2021 AIMS survey data offer empirical evidence of how humans extend moral consideration to AIs who exist now and AIs with sentience who may exist in the future. The data also provide empirical evidence of social perceptions of AIs, perceived connectedness to AIs, and forecasts for future human-AI relations. These data serve to ground our expectations regarding public opinion on AIs and enable us to track how public opinion changes over time.


Steps to reproduce

This project was preregistered on the OSF ( The survey was programmed in GuidedTrack and run online with a sample recruited by Ipsos. All survey materials including the GuidedTrack code are available on the OSF ( The R code used to clean and census-balance the raw data and to produce and compare the descriptive statistics with Sentience Institute's predictions presented in the supplemental file is on the OSF. The raw data and Sentience Institute's prediction data files are included here alongside the final cleaned data ("AIMS_2021").


Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, Social Psychology, Computer Ethics, Ethics of Technology