Study. 70% of consumers excited about using generative AI at work


In just five days, ChatGPT reached one million users, boosting its awareness and highlighting strong public interest in artificial intelligence (AI). Consumer understanding and enthusiasm for AI is surprisingly high, according to a new study from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The study, published today in an article titled “Consumers Know Deeper About AI Than Business Leaders Realize,” is based on a survey conducted by BCG’s Center for Customer Insight to to measure the level of awareness of AI and generative AI (GenAI), use and feelings of 21,000 respondents from 21 countries on six continents. She also explored relevant questions regarding the use of AI in the workplace.

“While perception and usage vary by market, age and exposure, consumers around the world have a deeper appreciation for AI than we realize,” said Aparna Bharadwaj, global leader of BCG’s Global Advantage practice, former head of the Center for Customer Insight and co-author of the study. “These survey results should be a wake-up call to business leaders, highlighting the need for responsible AI to inform everything they do.” If consumers and employees are concerned about data privacy and the ethical use of generative AI, they will not adopt this technology.”

More than 80% of survey participants said they were aware of GenAI, and a quarter said they had already used it. 75% said they have used an app or service powered by GenAI in different ways to address unmet needs. Individuals under 35 declared that they knew and used GenAI more than those over 35 (86% knew the technology compared to 80% of those over 35, and 32% used it compared to 20%. ).

“This general opinion is shared by Moroccan consumers interviewed as part of this survey. 80% of them confirmed they were aware of GenAI tools like ChatGPT, and 38% said they had used the platform. These levels are in line with the adoption rates we see globally,” comments Zineb Sqalli, Managing Director and Partner at BCG Maroc.

Cautious consumer optimism

Consumers demonstrate a keen understanding of AI. While enthusiasm for the technology is real, a significant portion of consumers surveyed are aware of the risks it poses if not implemented responsibly. Around 40% (44% in Morocco) of consumers are enthusiastic about the different uses of AI, while 28% (35% in Morocco) have a more mixed opinion. Consumers also express outspoken concerns about AI: 33% (22% in Morocco) worry about data security and the ethical use of AI, and 30% about the possibility of AI replacing workers in certain jobs. 10% of consumers expressed concern about the environmental impact of GenAI.

The BCG study details a “disinformation-excitement-concern curve.” Consumers are initially concerned about AI due to misinformation and myths surrounding it. But with increased experience and use of technology, they simultaneously demonstrate more excitement and more concern about this emerging technology.

Greater enthusiasm for AI in the workplace

Those who were interviewed recognize the value that AI can bring, particularly in improving daily life. 39% of respondents say they are optimistic about its impact in this regard, followed by 32% who express enthusiasm about its potential for scientific and medical breakthroughs.

From an employee perspective, respondents have a more positive outlook toward GenAI: 70% are excited about the technology. 60% believe AI will help in learning and education, and 55% anticipate an increase in work efficiency.

Attitudes toward artificial intelligence in the workplace are often correlated with job roles. According to the BCG study, more than half of respondents believe they cannot be replaced by AI or other technologies, while only 19% express feelings of vulnerability or concern about possible replacement of their jobs. Those in functional or support, process-driven, office-based roles (such as marketing and communications, finance and accounting) feel most threatened by AI. Conversely, those who occupy roles based on relationships (such as domestic helpers/babysitters, teachers, doctors, nurses and pharmacists) feel the least threatened.

“It is interesting to note that Morocco is among the 10 countries most enthusiastic about the impact of AI on their workplace (71% of respondents compared to only 14% showing concern). This is consistent with the levels of enthusiasm observed in countries with younger, more ‘digital native’ populations,” continues Zineb Sqalli.

Openness to AI is not synonymous with market maturity

Feelings about AI vary widely across countries, from enthusiasm to confusion to concern. Although feelings towards AI are polarized in each country, some countries are more receptive to the technology than others. Among the 21 countries surveyed, excitement was highest in China (56%), Indonesia (49%), Brazil (46%) and Morocco (44%), while respondents in France (50%) , Australia (49%) and Great Britain (43%) expressed the most concerns.

Concern is higher in some countries with digitally competitive economies, where consumers may feel more threatened by AI-related issues (concerns about privacy or impact on employment). Many companies in these markets are already introducing generative AI into their operations. In less digitally competitive countries, excitement prevails as AI offers an opportunity to accelerate solutions to critical problems in areas such as health and education.

Implications for leaders

Generative AI is here to stay, and it presents extraordinary opportunities for both productivity gains and revenue growth. For leaders who want to harness the transformative power of this technology to drive their business success, the key implications emerging from the survey include:

● When looking to invent new applications for consumers, focus on transparency.

● Test new ideas and products in markets more receptive to AI/GenAI and consider a tailored approach to privacy issues.

● As companies roll out new AI offerings, it’s important to reassure customers before applications grow too quickly.

● AI applications for businesses are more likely to be adopted and grow rapidly than applications used by consumers in their daily lives.

● While data and technology are important, keep in mind the 10-20-70 rule: 10% of the effort is developing new algorithms and the science behind them; 20% of the effort is deploying the “tech stack” and ensuring the right data feeds the right systems; and 70% of the effort is on change management and other people-related processes. People and process changes are critical success factors.

“The main takeaway for managers is that Moroccan consumers naturally adopt AI and expect their interactions with businesses to evolve to further integrate AI into the customer journeys offered,” concludes Zineb Sqalli.

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