Survey: AI a Plus in the Workplace, Not So Much in Daily Life

ChatGPT took the world by storm in a matter of days, igniting a widespread curiosity among the general public. According to new research by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), consumers' knowledge and excitement about AI has only grown since then.

The survey was conducted by BCG's Center for Customer Insight to measure the level of awareness of AI and generative AI (GenAI), as well as usage and sentiment among 21,000 respondents from 21 countries across six continents. It also explored questions relevant to the use of AI in the workplace. More than 80% of survey participants demonstrated an awareness of GenAI, with a quarter already having used the technology. Seventy-five percent reported that they have used a GenAI powered app or service in a variety of ways to address unmet needs. Individuals under 35 reported higher awareness and usage of GenAI than those over 35 (86% versus 80% for awareness, and 32% versus 20% for usage, respectively).

The survey revealed that while excitement about AI is prevalent, a notable portion of respondents are also aware of its potential downsides if not implemented responsibly. About 40% of consumers report feeling excited about the various uses of AI, while 28% said they feel conflicted. Consumers also voiced outright concerns about AI, with 33% worried about data security and the ethical use of AI, and 30% worried about the possibility of AI replacing workers in certain jobs. Ten percent of consumers expressed concern about the environmental impact of GenAI.

Those surveyed recognize the value AI can provide, especially in enhancing daily life, with 39% of respondents expressing optimism about its impact in this regard, followed by 32% expressing enthusiasm for its potential in driving scientific and medical breakthroughs.

From an employee perspective, respondents have a more positive outlook toward GenAI, with 70% excited about the technology. Sixty percent believe that AI will help with learning and education, and 55% anticipate increased workplace efficiencies.

Workplace attitudes toward AI often correlate with job roles. According to BCG's research, more than half of respondents feel they cannot be replaced by AI or other technologies, while only 19% express feelings of vulnerability or concern about potential job displacement. Those in process-intensive, office-based support function roles (such as marketing and communications, and finance and accounting) feel most threatened by AI, while those in relationship-intensive roles (such as house helpers/babysitters, teachers, doctors, nurses and pharmacists) feel least threatened.

Ultimately, the BCG report supports the fact that GenAI is here to stay and it presents extraordinary opportunities for both productivity gains and topline growth. 

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