International survey reveals low awareness of AI apps

Applications of AI

ChatGPT on your mobile phone

Younger generations are using things like ChatGPT more, but reliability remains an issue


Image: Matheus Bertelli via Pexels

Despite much hype, very few people actually use artificial intelligence, according to an international survey by the Reuters Institute and Oxford University.

A survey of 12,000 people in Argentina, Denmark, France, Japan, the UK and the US found that just 2% of those surveyed in the UK and 7% in the US used ChatGPT daily. Fewer than half of Americans (47%) and 42% of Brits had never heard of ChatGPT. Similar figures are seen in other countries.

Other applications such as Google’s Gemini, Microsoft’s Copilot, and Elon Musk’s Grok lie are even less known.


However, there are stark differences across age groups, with 18-24 year olds more likely to say they are using AI than older people, and almost two-thirds (60%) of that age group agree that generative AI will have a big impact on the general public over the next five years.

AI use split into two categories: Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) said they are using AI to gather information, and 28% said they are using AI to generate new media.

In the “information” category, “answering factual questions” is the most common use (11%), followed by “seeking advice” (10%), while 9% of respondents are using AI to generate ideas or simply experiment.

Experimentation scored highest among the creative group (11%), followed by writing emails or letters (9%), generating images (9%) and writing essays or reports (8%).

The researchers point out that generative AI is most commonly used in areas where it is simultaneously most vulnerable: AI applications are not always trustworthy when it comes to facts, and at the same time, it is a strength, for example, only 8% of those surveyed use AI tools to summarize text.

So why are these numbers so low?

The vast majority of people surveyed believe that AI will make their lives better. Whether AI will advance society as a whole is a divisive issue.

There are big differences depending on the field in which AI is used, the survey's lead researcher, Richard Fletcher, explained to the BBC: “People are generally optimistic about the use of generative AI in science and medicine, but they are concerned about its use in news and journalism, and they are also concerned about the impact on job stability.”

Fletcher concludes that there's a disconnect between the hype generated by AI developers and users and the general public: “A large part of the general public isn't interested in generative AI,” he said.

This is likely because there is still concern and uncertainty surrounding the reliability of AI in everyday work, and the flaws are more noticeable because people are primarily using AI for tasks where it is less useful or accurate.


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