Gen AI goes mainstream

January: 2023 began with ChatGPT4 hitting 100 million users

Ipsos | Almanac 2024 | Artificial intelligence

2023 was the year that artificial intelligence (AI) cut through and went mainstream. In making its choice for the most notable word of the year, Collins Dictionary picked ‘AI’ because it “has accelerated at such a fast pace and become the dominant conversation of 2023”.

At the beginning of the year the Generative AI platform ChatGPT4 dominated headlines after it reached 100 million users in two months, making it the fastest-growing consumer internet app ever, according to analysts. Visits to the OpenAI-owned site continued to grow throughout the spring before peaking in May with 1.8 billion visits (in October 2023 this was 1.7 billion visits).

All the hype about this technology has cut through to the attention of the public. People recognise the gravity of the changes brought by AI. 66% globally say products and services using AI will profoundly change their daily life in the next three to five years. This is a seven-percentage point (pp) increase since we asked the same question in December 2021. Younger people are more likely to feel this way, with 69% of Gen Z and 67% of Millennials saying this is the case, while only 59% Baby Boomers feel the same.

Has AI gone too far?

The advancement of AI in 2023 has also brought worry about the speed of change. The number of people concerned about AI is growing. 52% globally say products and services using AI makes them nervous, a 13pp increase since December 2021. This sentiment is much higher in English-speaking countries with Australia (69%), Great Britain (65%), Canada, New Zealand, United States (all 63%), and Ireland (62%) the most worried countries globally.

It’s in these countries where scepticism about how we embed AI in our lives is highest. People in much of the English-speaking world feel AI’s role in education should be limited. They are more likely to believe its effect will be negative, with the public in those countries also more likely to think AI should be banned in schools – contrary to the global average who think AI has a role to play in education.

Ipsos | Almanac 2024 | Generative AI

AI: Friend or foe?

This year AI began to be seen as one of the top concerns for risk experts, alongside climate change and cyber security. According to the AXA Future Risks Report, the most popular reason among experts for choosing AI as a risk was “the potential of advanced AI to pose an existential threat to mankind.”

The same report found 64% of experts, and 70% of members of the public, say there should be a break in research into AI.

In our annual survey assessing attitudes to security threats, 60% felt an AI-based defence system breaking free of human control was a real threat to humanity. Meanwhile, only 43% have confidence in their government to protect its citizens from this threat.

What will AI change?

One area where AI is expected to have the biggest impact is in how we work. Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, in an interview with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in November this year, said “there will come a point where no job is needed”. While most people think it is not likely their job will be replaced by AI in the next five years, many people think it is. 36% believe AI will be doing their job by 2028, with this belief much higher in Asia.  

Looking into the year ahead with the US Presidential Election, trust and truth could be one of the defining features of 2024. Being able to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake will be harder due to an AI people believe. 74% globally say AI is making it easier to generate very realistic fake news stories and images. People across all 29 countries in our AI and Disinformation survey are united that AI is more likely to make disinformation and misinformation worse.

Looking ahead to the next 12 years, AI will continue to be further embedded into our day-to-day lives, raising questions around the role of government and regulation on living with this technology.