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Gen Z’s unfiltered truth about AI: New research reveals that teens understand, like, are empowered by—but also fear—the technology

by | Aug 11, 2023 | Public Relations

AI is revolutionizing the business world right now and affecting those of all ages, but the true impact of the vastness of AI is much more likely to be realized and felt by Gen Z, the digital natives now in the last years of their education and/or entering the workforce—not only as a business tool but as a lifestyle influencer and driver. So, what does this group think of the tech at this point? New research from teen-focused social app Picnic finds that the younger segment of Gen Z (high school-aged), among over 2,400 surveyed, is heavily engaged with AI and has complex feelings towards its uses for school, entertainment, privacy, and society at large—but they’re also a little afraid.

The firm’s new report, The AI Pulse of Gen-Z: Gen-Z’s Unfiltered Truth About AI—which examines Gen Z’s awareness and acceptance of AI, its inclusion in school and the arts, and perspectives on privacy, accuracy and ethical use—offers a unique perspective on the integration of AI into everyday life from this cohort, revealing patterns that point to an overarching theme that this group understands, likes and feels empowered by AI. But the findings also reveal concerns and fears about AI’s future growth and increased capabilities as the technology continues to advance.

Gen Z's unfiltered truth about AI: New research reveals that teens understand, like, are empowered by—but also fear—the technology

Key findings from the report can be broken down into four sections: understands AI; likes AI; fears AI; and empowered by AI.

AI awareness and application—Gen Z has both

  • 82.6 percent of those surveyed were previously aware of AI technology.
  • 77.6 percent o have already used AI technology.

Can AI be artistic? Gen Z thinks so

  • 24 percent of those surveyed have used AI in school.
  • Nearly half of surveyed users wouldn’t think less of influencers and creators who use AI.
  • 43.5 percent consider using AI-made pictures as art.

Gen Z's unfiltered truth about AI: New research reveals that teens understand, like, are empowered by—but also fear—the technology

Ring the alarm—Gen Z shares worries on AI adoption

  • 45 percent of survey participants are concerned AI could replace their parents’ jobs, or the professions they are interested in.
  • 45.4 percent are worried AI could be used to impersonate them, and 59.8 percent are worried about what data an AI collects.
  • 55.2 percent are concerned their personal photos could be used in an AI to create sexually explicit or inappropriate images.

Gen Z's unfiltered truth about AI: New research reveals that teens understand, like, are empowered by—but also fear—the technology

AI and Gen Z: Two powers slated to change the world

  • 44.5 percent of participants believe AI will change the world.
  • Only 10.7 percent of participants believed that AI would not be a good thing for society or the world.

“The report shows that today’s teenagers are tech savvy and aware of the impact AI will have on their lives and society at large. This generation will grow up, evolve and help shape this technology’s future and how it will be used,” said Nico Laqua, CEO of Picnic, in a news release. “With the AI market expected to reach $407 billion by 2027, this study will be an integral tool for future AI developments, considering Gen Z’s thoughts, feelings and concerns surrounding the technology.”

Gen Z's unfiltered truth about AI: New research reveals that teens understand, like, are empowered by—but also fear—the technology

According to Statista, AI is expected to contribute a 21 percent net increase to the United States GDP by 2030. Additionally, the report cites that as AI continues to grow and new technologies are developed, an annual growth rate of 37.3 percent between 2023 and 2030 is expected, according to Grand View Research.

Download the full report here.

Picnic obtained data from approximately 2,422 Picnic users between the ages of 13-18 about their AI use habits and attitudes through a survey. All data included refers to teenage or Gen-Z Picnic users, except where noted. Quotes included in the report are taken from survey responses to open-ended questions. Some quotes have been edited for clarity and/or length.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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