scorecardDespite the hype, AI tools like ChatGPT remain dormant in daily use, shows global survey
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Despite the hype, AI tools like ChatGPT remain dormant in daily use, shows global survey

Despite the hype, AI tools like ChatGPT remain dormant in daily use, shows global survey
Tech3 min read
Artificial intelligence (AI) has taken the world by storm. Since the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in 2022, discussions have ranged from optimistic visions of a utopian future to pessimistic fears of threats posed by technology to humanity itself. But no matter what, it's undeniable that AI has captured everyone’s attention.

However, in spite of all the hype, very few people around the world are actually making use of AI on a regular basis, a survey has found.
Bursting the bubble: The divide between AI hype and everyday use
Generative AI — a technology that produces human-like outputs such as text, images, audio or video based on input prompts — burst onto the public scene with the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022. This sparked a frenzied competition among tech giants, who have since invested billions into developing their own generative AI capabilities.

However, research suggests that despite the substantial investment and attention, generative AI has yet to integrate seamlessly into everyday internet use.

The online survey, conducted by the Reuters Institute and Oxford University, surveyed 12,000 individuals across six countries — Argentina, Denmark, France, Japan, the UK, and the USA — to explore perceptions of generative AI tools.

Despite relatively high awareness of ChatGPT compared to other generative AI tools, the survey found that only an average of 54% of respondents across the six countries had heard of it. Even among those aware, the majority reported limited or no usage, with only about 3% using the tool daily.

Usage patterns varied by demographics, with men and individuals with higher education levels more likely to use ChatGPT. However, the most significant disparities were observed by age group, with younger individuals aged 18 to 24 exhibiting higher usage rates, albeit predominantly infrequent.

The study also sought to understand public perceptions of generative AI's societal impact. While many respondents anticipate significant contributions to fields like news, media and science, the overall sentiment was cautiously optimistic, with concerns about the technology's broader societal implications.
The trough of disillusionment
The findings of this online international survey highlight a notable disparity between the hype surrounding AI and public engagement with it. This phenomenon, where the technology is heavily hyped but the practical application and adoption lag behind, mirrors the concept of the “trough of disillusionment” described in the Gartner Hype Cycle.

The “trough of disillusionment” signifies a phase in the technology lifecycle where inflated expectations meet the reality of practical limitations, leading to a decline in enthusiasm. Despite this disillusionment, the phase also marks an opportunity for deeper understanding and practical application of the technology.

At the moment, the adoption of AI and related technologies appears to be widespread across technology and media companies, compared to individuals. However, the discourse around the topic varies within a wide spectrum of ideas ranging from ‘technological determinism’ (the idea where technologies shape human societies) to ‘social constructivism’ (where our social behaviour shapes technological advancement).

In some cases, the ‘trough of disillusionment’ phase is followed by the ‘slope of enlightenment’, This represents a pivotal phase where the benefits of the technology become clearer, driving increased adoption and investment. It heralds a transition from hype to tangible outcomes, laying the groundwork for broader integration and innovation.

Will this be the case with generative AI as well? Only time will tell.