Survey: Millennials are the largest adopters of AI ─ for fun, not work

By: Verbit Editorial



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Artificial intelligence is growing in popularity among the largest generational contingent in the US workforce: millennials. And they may not be using it just to boost productivity at work.

Verbit analyzed Morning Consult survey data published this year to illustrate how millennials interact most with emerging AI tools. The survey shows millennials are active users of AI tools, with respondents saying they’re just as likely to use it for entertainment recommendations as they are for work.

AI is found today not just in generative AI apps like ChatGPT that have become popular in the workplace, classroom, and mainstream culture. It’s also embedded in the algorithms that power recommendations in music and television streaming apps, financial investment services, productivity software like Microsoft Excel, conversation transcription tools and those that assist in writing code.

With more than a year of experimentation under their belts since the release of ChatGPT and the wave of AI programs that followed, the appeal to millennials of using new AI-infused software for work is nearly on par with using it for entertainment recommendations.

Chart of a survey of AI users showing millennials are equally likely to leverage it for entertainment recommendations as they are for work

Millennials make up the bulk of the workforce and are AI’s early power users

True artificial intelligence, called artificial general intelligence or AGI, refers to software that displays a level of intelligence indistinguishable from that of a human. Though experts agree that true AI is still some distance away, today’s AI-infused software is powerful enough to significantly augment workers in many white-collar jobs ─ and even replace them in some limited cases.

Millennials’ equal propensity to use AI for entertainment or work may speak to the entertainment consumption habits of those aged 28-43. But it could also be representative of the anxiety the proliferation of new AI tools has caused in the larger workforce.

While not yet capable of AGI, AI’s current capabilities have been strong enough to generate significant concerns about job displacement. White-collar work was long thought to be immune from early forms of automation, which replaced many manual labor jobs with the assistance of robotic technology in warehouses and on factory floors.

And even though polling indicates nearly half of AI’s current users are leveraging the tools at work, other indicators show it hasn’t come without additional stress. About two-thirds of workers say they are concerned about AI replacing their jobs, and an equal portion say they fear falling behind in their jobs if they don’t use it at work, according to a 2023 survey by Ernst & Young LLP to gauge worker anxiety around business’ adoption of AI.

While the future of AI ─ and how big of a threat it poses for workers ─ remains to be seen, a new report from corporate advisory firm Gartner provides an optimistic view running counter to worker anxiety. The report forecasts that generative AI adoption within corporate workplaces could slow in the coming years as organizations are hit with the reality of the costs it requires to fully train AI models as well as the looming intellectual property challenges making their way through the courts.

By Dom DiFurio

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