By Zuko Mdwaba, Salesforce Area VP / Africa Executive & South Africa Country Leader
Generation Z will determine the extent to which generative AI will truly advance how we live and work.
Born into a world of smartphones, virtual assistants, and the Internet, the level of comfort among ‘digital natives’ with the pace of technological change and its impact on society will be a driving force behind AI’s widespread adoption.
Global research released by Salesforce – Generative AI Snapshot Research: The AI Divide – shows that over one-third of current users are “super-users,” tapping generative AI daily and planning to use it even more.
The data also shows that half of all consumers have never used the technology and claim their knowledge of generative AI is limited or non-existent.
Specifically among Gen Z, Salesforce research shows that 70% of Gen Z uses the technology – compared to only 23% of Baby Boomers – and almost half believe they are on their way to mastering it.
However, Gen Z’s ability to trust generative AI is just as important as its ability to make everyone’s life easier. Perhaps more than any other generation, they demand technology with a conscience.
They want to understand how generative AI works and ensure it is secure or safe. They want to be confident, for example, that their information won’t be used elsewhere without their consent.
There’s good news for businesses worried about consumers who self-report as non-adopters, unfamiliar with generative AI and unclear how the technology will impact their life.
Nearly half say they would use generative AI if it was easier to use or integrated into technology they already have. 51% say things might change if companies were more transparent about how they were using it.
There are three steps leaders can take as they explore, build, and implement successful AI platforms.
Bridge the gap between how Gen Z uses AI and how they want to use it
Despite the hype around how it can make our lives easier, 38% of generative AI users are only using it for fun.
That being said, Gen Z is keen to leverage AI in the workplace to help streamline their productivity. They also want it integrated into the tools they’re already using.
As organisations build and implement AI, focusing on tools that make workers more productive can increase adoption and decrease resistance, accelerating a company into the future.
Embed transparent and ethical AI practices
To address the ethical concerns of Gen Z, including issues like bias, privacy, and data transparency, and to uphold their trust, leaders must guarantee that AI tools and platforms offer transparent explanations for their actions.
In specific instances, it may be necessary to involve a human in the process to rectify any issues or errors.
Foster collaboration amongst those that are comfortable with generative AI, and those who make those business decisions
The employees responsible for the everyday decisions that drive a company forward are the ones that, according to the research, do not currently leverage generative AI and don’t fully comprehend it.
This knowledge gap leads to differing opinions on where resources should go and technology funding priorities.
If companies fail to bridge the divide between AI proponents and those who are resistant to it, they are likely to encounter challenges in effectively harnessing the potential of this emerging technology.
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