Report reveals excitement and concerns over generative AI

Publicis Sapient has released the results of a survey of 10,957 consumers in seven countries on how they view (and use) generative AI, and how brands can harness the new technology for the best possible return on investment with customer experience. The study, ‘Are consumers ready for generative AI?’ is part of Publicis Sapient’s annual ‘Guide to Next’ series of data-driven insights on global digital business transformation trends for 2024.

The study reveals that globally, whilst most consumers (78 per cent) have heard of Generative AI, only 30 per cent have actually used it. Consumers in the UK are the least likely to have used Generative AI tools personally or professionally (22 per cent) compared to consumers in APAC – Australia (38 per cent) and Thailand (35 per cent).

While overall feelings on Generative AI’s impact on society remain neutral across geographies, UK respondents showed particular concern that Gen AI will have a negative impact on the future of work, and their careers. 55 per cent thought it would have a negative impact, with concern increasing among older age groups.

While there is excitement among current users around the possibilities that Gen AI will bring, there are clearly some deeper concerns. Globally, the majority of consumers across regions and demographics are concerned that generative AI will cause: a loss of human connection (88 per cent); lack of data privacy (87 per cent) ; and an increase in misinformation (87 per cent). When it comes to using generative AI to interact with brands, nearly half of generative AI users (45 per cent) are likely to use a conversational application of the technology for travel and hospitality shopping. This was mirrored in the UK, with consumers most likely to use a conversational virtual assistant like ChatGPT for travel related enquiries or purchases, but not financial services, at just 14 per cent.

In contrast to global findings, UK respondents were also less likely (45 per cent) to share personal information if it meant a more personalised experience with a brand.

Some other key UK takeaways:

  • 50 per cent of UK respondents have heard of Gen AI but not used it.
  • Only 6 per cent of UK consumers have heard of and currently use Gen AI in their daily work.
  • People in the UK were ambivalent about the impact that AI will have on society with 54 per cent believing it will have a neutral (neither positive nor negative impact).
  • There is a strong feeling that Gen AI will have a negative impact on the future of work with 45 per cent feeling the impact will be more negative than positive.
  • Most UK respondents (55 per cent) think Gen AI will have a negative impact on their careers; those in London were the most likely (20 per cent) to say it would have a positive effect on their career compared to those in the North, Midlands (10 per cent) and Wales (6 per cent).
  • Over half of UK consumers (56 per cent) do not trust the outputs by Gen AI. Highest mistrust was among the over 55s and 18-24s were the most trusting at 24 per cent. The majority of UK consumers (66 per cent) trust human made content more than gen ai created content.
  • For UK respondents, the top three concerns related to Gen AI are: loss of human connection 32 per cent; accuracy of misinformation 20 per cent;  data privacy 17 per cent ; Females are more concerned about loss of human connection than men 37 per cent v 26 per cent whereas men are more worried about job loss 14 per cent v 11 per cent.
  • Nearly half (45 per cent) of UK consumers say that they’re less likely to share data if they know it’s to customise/personalise their experiences with a brand.
  • UK consumers are most excited about 25 per cent the opportunity for real time price comparison and deal alerts when it comes to the ability to interact with brands – this was true for both men and women at 25 per cent each.