MORE THAN a quarter of UK adults have used generative artificial intelligence such as chatbots, according to research from accounting group Deloitte. The research suggested that approximately 4 million people have also used it for work.
The Deloitte survey of 4,150 UK adults found that just over half of the population had heard of generative AI, with around one in 10 respondents – the equivalent of approximately four million people – using it for work.
The Deloitte report revealed that 26% of 16- to 75-year-olds have used a generative AI tool, representing about 13 million people, with one in 10 of those respondents using it at least once a day.
Generative AI, which refers to AI tools that produce realistic text or images in response to human prompts, has been a major topic of discussion since the launch of ChatGPT last November. The pace of adoption of the latest generation of AI systems exceeds that of voice-assisted speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa, according to the research.
“It took five years for voice-assisted speakers to achieve the same adoption levels. It is incredibly rare for any emerging technology to achieve these levels of adoption and frequency of usage so rapidly,” said Paul Lee, a Deloitte partner.
Commenting on the findings, Derek Mackenzie, CEO at Investigo, a global skills provider, said: “With AI adoption surging, and the use of chatbots and voice-assisted technology becoming the new normal, it’s vital that businesses have credible plans in place to fully capitalise on this trend. The skills crisis has left many companies struggling to build a robust talent pipeline, and getting access to staff with deep technical knowledge in areas like AI remains a major challenge.
“The technology brings huge benefits such as saving time and money but also challenges like managing operational governance and evolving job roles. Forward thinking businesses will plan for these changes, building links with specialist trainers and providers so they have the skills ready inhouse to make the most of what AI has to offer,” said Mackenzie.
Tech expert Sjuul van der Leeuw, CEO of Deployteq, said: “These figures underline the fact that generative AI is already playing a crucial role in our daily lives and this trend is set to continue indefinitely. From transforming public services, shaking up traditional business models and turbocharging the creative industries, it will continue to have a major impact on our economic growth.
“However, it’s vital that nobody is left behind, and this means having the right training and governance policies in place so that this technology can be used responsibly,” he concluded.
ChatGPT became a sensation due to its ability to generate human-seeming responses to a range of queries in different styles, producing articles, essays, jokes, poetry and job applications in response to text prompts.
It has been followed by Microsoft’s Bing chatbot, which is based on the same system as ChatGPT, Google’s Bard chatbot and, this week, Claude 2 from US firm Anthropic.
Image generators have also taken off, exemplified by a realistic-looking picture of Pope Francis in a puffer jacket, produced by US startup Midjourney.
However, the ability of such systems to mass produce convincing text, image and even voice at scale has led to warnings that they could become tools for creating large-scale disinformation campaigns.
The Deloitte survey found that of those who had used generative AI, more than four out of 10 believe it always produces factually correct answers. One of the biggest flaws in generative AI systems so far is that they are prone to producing glaring factual errors.