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Connecting the Dots: Navigating The Tension Between AI Fears and Opportunities

Audience market research company GWI has come up with its annual report, Connecting the Dots, which unearths some of the biggest consumer trends taking over in 2024. The report sheds light on various aspects like growing fears around the evolution of AI, the increase in online shopping by boomers, and how short-form video is changing sports. In today’s blog, we shall take a look at how the concerns around AI are outpacing the excitement around it.

Here are the major highlights of the report.

1. Mixed Feelings About AI

Ever since ChatGPT was launched in 2022, it’s been gaining immense traction. It reached over 1 million users within 5 days of launching and if numbers are any indication, ChatGPT is only getting bigger by the day. In February 2023, 16% of consumers outside China said that they had used ChatGPT. This figure had risen to 30% by September.

However, like most technologies, people view AI as a double-edged sword. GWI data shows that while many people are fascinated by AI’s tremendous potential, there is no dearth of people who are also wary of its explosive growth.

For example, 11% of Americans were worried by AI’s growth in the second quarter of 2020 as opposed to 13% of Americans who were interested in what AI offers. Three years later, 22% of Americans were worried about AI’s growth in the second quarter of 2023 as opposed to the 21% of Americans who were interested in AI’s potential. Thus, people who are wary of AI’s disruptive capabilities outnumber the ones who believe in AI’s potential.

2. AI Attitudes Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All

Brands that are trying to capitalize upon AI’s potential would do well to strike a fine balance between the excitement and apprehension around AI. This can be done through detailed, granular audience insights. Since the growth of AI is inevitable at this stage, businesses must figure out what excites their customers and what their concerns are.

For example, cinema-goers are excited about AI-generated movies but are also worried about how it will impact the creatives. This means that movie production houses should seek ways to use AI as a supplement but ensure that the final print doesn’t lose its “human touch”.

Similarly, people with mental health conditions are optimistic about what AI can do for therapy but don’t think of it as a replacement for traditional treatment. Healthcare professionals can leverage AI tools for initial screenings and assistance until they’re tried and tested.

3. Why Brands Need to Take Notice

The rapid pace at which things are changing in the AI world means that businesses need to keep a tab on not just what people are saying today but also what they say in the near future. Consumers are increasingly on the lookout for unimaginative AI-generated content and even the tech industry is building tools to detect AI-generated content.

Therefore, organizations that look ahead and put relevant plans in place today will be best positioned to ride the AI wave tomorrow. Interest and anxiety around new technologies tend to stabilize once the initial hype dies down. But AI also impacts people on important matters like job security. So, people are obviously going to be wary of it. With regulations being discussed, brands need to train their employees and open up a tailored dialogue with their customers as AI continues to evolve.

Bottom Line

AI doesn’t exist in a bubble; instead, it impacts all of us. It is the fastest-growing concern in the USA with the number of American cosmetics buyers, fast-food eaters, and fitness fanatics who have concerns about AI more than doubling in the last year. Everyone from beauty brands to sports retailers and beyond will be making some or the other AI-related decision in the next 12 months. Adopting it means different things for different industries, and acting with awareness and sensitivity on a case-by-case basis will be key.

To delve deeper into the findings of the report, download the report by clicking here.

We’ll soon be back with another GWI report where we’ll take a look at how boomers are increasingly relying on social media to shop. Till then, stay tuned!


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