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Nearly 60% of Gen Z Knows About Generative AI, but Under 20% Use It (So Far)

Generative AI is having an enormous impact on business and society despite the general public only learning much about it less than a year ago when ChatGPT debuted. Younger people are almost always among the first adopters of any new technology, but that might not be the case with generative AI, according to a recently published survey of Gen Z by Touchstone Research. A poll of 931 members of Gen Z between middle school and college found that while 59% of Gen Z know about generative AI, only 18% have used one or more of the tools built on the technology.

Generative Gen Z

Touchstone surveyed its Gen Z cohort on their awareness, usage, and attitudes surrounding generative AI. Focusing just on what Gen Z knows about and which tools they use, the low percentage of users seems surprising. While ChatGPT being at the top of the list of generative AI products employed makes sense, the overall list shows real limits in experimentation. ChatGPT and DALL-E 2 are both OpenAI products, and Microsoft’s Bing AI relies on the same large language models. Google through Bard AI and Midjourney through its eponymous platform are the only other companies represented.

That may stem from the timing of the survey, which took place in May. Generative AI is exploding in popularity and availability, with new tools and companies appearing almost as quickly. The same survey today might come out very differently. If teachers adopt some of OpenAI’s suggestions for how to incorporate ChatGPT and potentially other generative AI  tools, the numbers might climb significantly by the end of the school year.