Artificial intelligence has certainly been the trend of the year so far, for every brand from tech to marketing to fashion, and for individual consumers as well. Of course, being the digital natives they are, Gen Z and Millennials have quickly adapted to this trend and become users of popular AI chatbots and generators themselves. But, with so much to be said about the topic, and so many wondering how young consumers are interacting with it, YPulse’s new AI Unpacked trend report gives insight to all there is to know about young peoples’ relationship with these bots. We ask everything from how they define AI, to which kinds they’ve already used, and how they’re feeling about a future potentially defined by it.
As of now, these gens are still nearly split on how much knowledge they have about AI at large. But that hasn’t stopped them from forming preliminary opinions based on what they do know—about what it can do for them, and what risks it poses. To get a sense of where they stand, YPulse asks 13-39-year-olds how they feel about AI in general, not just chatbots or self-driving cars (though those are top of mind). From a list of 11 options, including feelings both positive, negative, or nothing at all, this is how Gen Z and Millennials feel about AI right now:
Gen Z and Millennials are most likely to feel excited and hopeful about AI
Of the options, young people overall are most likely to say they’re excited about AI, with 39% saying so. This is, of course, not a consensus, but 38% say they are hopeful with Millennials leading this response heavily: 41% choose “hopeful” compared to 31% of Gen Z. But while their most popular answers are positive, nervous (30%) and concerned (28%) are following these up, showing there are definitely uncertainties which keep them slightly hesitant about certain AI functions. In fact, 68% of young people even agree, “Seeing advancement in technology that replicates human-like capabilities freaks me out.”
However, when we combine respondents who chose positive or negative feelings toward AI overall, our data shows an overwhelming lean toward the positive. In general, 71% of Gen Z and Millennials say they feel positive feelings about AI, with only 47% choosing negative feelings. And Millennials are even more likely to be seeing the good in it: 73% have positive feelings about AI, compared to 65% of Gen Z.
Beyond their feelings about the general existence of AI, we also ask about how they feel AI is impacting the world at large. Again, these gens are looking hopeful for what older gens see as tech taking over humanity: 75% say they think AI has a positive impact on the world, compared to 25% seeing a negative impact.
How do young consumers feel about AI-made products?
Though young people are far more likely to have positive feelings about AI, it’s important for brands to know where they stand on intelligent-computer-made products, too. Because while marketing integrations have been click-worthy, attempts like AI-generated models from Levi’s were quickly shut down. From a list of seven different feeling options, positive and negative, this is how Gen Z and Millennials tell YPulse they’d feel if a product was made by AI:
Out of the seven options, young consumers are most likely to say they’d be curious about an AI-made product—likely because they’re not exactly sure what that would look like just yet. While they themselves have been using AI (for a longer time than most realize), brands are only just beginning to roll out AI integrations, and usually for experiential marketing more than products.
However, we know that they’re against AI’s role in certain industries at the moment, like art and writing; 66% of young people agree that “AI content generators are a danger to writers and artists.” And, just over half say they would care if they knew a piece of writing or art was AI generated, whereas just over half say they would not care if a physical product (e.g clothing, accessories, cars, tech) were AI generated. This is an important distinction for brands: for young people, AI is a fine tool for product development, but maybe not so much when it takes work away from human artists (or in the case of some AI, uses their work without permission). Although, they still enjoy it as a fun trend on social media, evidenced by their use of viral AI selfie generators—so it’s not cut and dry where their boundary lays.
All said, though, young people are looking open to the possibilities AI provides for brands. They’re curious about AI-generated products and feeling positively about where the tech stands right now. But while the majority are comfortable with something like an AI chatbot answering questions and creating some content, our data reveals they’re not on board with certain tech yet, which is key for any brand looking to integrate AI to know.