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“Generation AI”: A Divide in the Adoption of Generative AI Tools

New findings from Salesforce have brought to light a significant rift in the adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools among consumers. This research delves into the contrasting experiences of those who have embraced generative AI and those who remain hesitant, shedding light on generational disparities in its usage.

Generative AI: A Widening Chasm

Salesforce’s recent survey reveals a divide, with 51% of the general population admitting to never having used generative AI, while the remaining 49% have integrated this technology into their lives. Within the latter group, a noteworthy one-third employ generative AI daily, while the remaining two-thirds engage with it on a weekly or more frequent basis.

Generation Gap and Workforce Dynamics

The study further illuminates stark generational distinctions among generative AI users. Approximately 65% of generative AI enthusiasts belong to Generation Z and millennials, with 72% being actively employed, and 51% holding full-time positions. In contrast, over 68% of those hesitant to adopt AI are from Generation X or the baby boomer generation, with only 48% being employed, and 52% facing unemployment.

Kelly Eliyahu, a product marketer at Salesforce, commented, “Gen Z is truly Generation AI – they comprise the superuser group. Seventy percent of Gen Z actively engage with generative AI, with over half utilizing it weekly or even more frequently.”

Embracing the Potential of Generative AI

Generative AI users express optimism about its potential impact on their lives and their ability to harness it effectively. Nearly 60% believe they are on the path to mastering this technology, with more than half asserting that it has already “transformed their lives.” Interestingly, they report increased usage compared to their initial exposure to generative AI.

Diverse Applications of Generative AI

The survey also sheds light on the multifaceted applications of generative AI across generations. For Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z, “fun and experimentation” reign as the top use case. In contrast, baby boomers primarily turn to AI to explore topics of personal interest, which ranks as the second most common use case among the younger generations.

AI in Written Communication

Between 25% and 33% of generative AI users across all age groups utilize AI to assist in crafting personal notes and emails. Surprisingly, baby boomers are the least likely to use AI for work-related emails, with only 15% doing so, while between 26% and 31% of the younger generations actively employ AI in this context.

Addressing Hesitation

For those who remain hesitant about embracing AI, Eliyahu emphasized that “88% of non-users express uncertainty about how generative AI might impact their lives.” Bridging this gap requires demonstrating the tangible benefits of AI, even in retirement. Eliyahu suggests helping baby boomers utilize AI for tasks such as travel planning, personal finance management, exploring topics of interest, receiving shopping recommendations, and meal planning – all integral aspects of daily life. However, it’s essential to recognize that these individuals are not proactively seeking out this information, unlike the tech-savvy superusers.

Building Trust in AI

In terms of encouraging broader AI adoption, the survey reveals that more than 63% of respondents desire enhanced security and safety measures in AI tools. This emerged as the foremost concern among both AI users and non-users. Individuals want assurance that their sensitive information remains confidential and is not shared or misused.

Knowledge and Transparency Matter

Additionally, 61% of respondents expressed the need for more comprehensive information about AI technology, while 58% would be more inclined to use it if they understood it better. Transparency emerges as a critical factor, with roughly half of the respondents stating that they would embrace AI more readily if companies were more open about its usage and integrated it seamlessly into their existing technology.

In conclusion, the research by Salesforce underscores the evolving landscape of generative AI adoption, highlighting not only the generational divide but also the pivotal role of trust, education, and transparency in shaping its future trajectory. As “Generation AI” continues to grow, addressing these concerns will be essential in ensuring the widespread and meaningful integration of AI into our daily lives.

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