Consumer love for GenAI requires business action

Published on the 28/09/2023 | Written by Heather Wright

Consumer love for GenAI requires business action

Australian uptake of generative AI outpacing Netflix…

More than 5.5 million Australians had used generative AI by the end of June, and that groundswell of consumer interest means businesses need to ‘really understand if their user base are using generative AI’ and begin that conversation.

The figures, from Australian emerging technology analyst firm Telsyte, show that 26 percent of Australia’s population base have now experimented with generative AI – a pace Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi says puts Netflix’s growth in the shade.

“Six months after Netflix was launched, it only had 2.5 million users. So while one is a free app, one had a lot of pent up demand. We’re still seeing a lot of consumer interest,” Fadaghi says.

“In some ways we’re saying we’re afraid, yet we’re trying to use AI as much as we can to make our day better.”

That consumer demand is spilling into business, with Fadaghi noting that those that those using generative AI tools are, unsurprisingly, more receptive to AI tools in other areas – including at work.

“In some ways we’re saying we’re maybe afraid of AI taking our jobs, yet on the other hand we’re trying to use AI as much as we can to make our day better,” he says. 

Around one third were keen to see AI at work, where language translation, brainstorming ideas, and summarising long documents, were key areas where people wanted AI assistants to help out. 

Enabling people to do research without using a search engine was also an area of interest. 

“We are in an environment where there is actually a groundswell of demand for AI,” Fadaghi says. 

‘Pent-up’ demand meant many people were already interested in AI-enhanced home and work applications prior to ChatGPT’s stratospheric launch into public consciousness, with demand for help finding sales or the cheapest prices, route assistance and alerts for natural disasters and disease outbreaks among those areas people were most interested in having be more automatic or having apps to assist with. Home security, cybersecurity and health monitoring also featured high, while 30 percent wanted help identifying and filtering fake news and false information. 

Indeed, many people expected technology to deliver this capability already, Fadaghi says. 

It’s the fear around how quickly things are going to change that Fadaghi says was the biggest fear identified. 

“Everyone expects things to change.

“Consumers are seeing that, but what they’re not seeing is the rate of technological change that is happening,” he says.

While we are in the process of setting up a very different workforce of the future, many are unaware of how soon it could happen, he says. 

Of those who anticipate their work could be performed by machines or AI, 42 percent believe the technology will begin performing part of their roles within five years time. Thirty percent believe machines, AI and robots could completely take over their roles within 10 years time – with 57 percent believing that will happen within 20 years. 

Unsurprisingly, when it comes to the generative AI apps that Australians are using, ChatGPT is far and away the winner, picking up 71 percent of all users. 

Snapchat’s My AI and Bing Chat follow at a meagre 15 percent and 12 percent respectively. 

And Fadaghi was quick to stomp on suggestions ChatGPT is in decline.“You might have seen coverage in the US of the decline of ChatGPT and so forth, but the reason for that is mainly because of this long tail of generative AI apps, which make up what people are interested in,” he says.

“Generative AI has overtaken smart speakers in terms of usage.

“Maybe we are underestimating where this might be going.”

Fadaghi warns that emergent capabilities will bring with them both surprising new potential for AI, and unpredictable risks.

“Two areas we are tracking quite closely is how close we are to a general intelligence, and embedded, where you start to get large language models being embedded into robotics.

“We are looking at measuring the kinds of robotics that emerge in the next few years, including robotic vehicles, robo taxis and so on, that are going to be enabled by this technology.”

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