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More than four million people in the UK have used Generative AI for work - Deloitte

14 July 2023
  • Over half of people in the UK (52%) have heard of Generative AI, with 26% having used the technology;
  • Around one in ten respondents (8%) – the equivalent of over four million people in the UK – report having used Generative AI tools for work;
  • Of those who have used Generative AI, 43% mistakenly assume that it always produces factually accurate answers, while 38% believe that answers generated are unbiased;
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of those who have heard of Generative AI expect that it will reduce the number of jobs available in the future, and half (48%) are concerned that AI will replace some of their role in the workplace;
  • Deloitte’s annual survey of the UK’s digital behaviours is based on a nationally representative survey of 4,150 respondents. This year’s research looked at Generative AI for the first time.

The majority of people in the UK (52%) have heard of Generative AI, and more than a quarter (26%) have used it, according to new findings from Deloitte’s 2023 Digital Consumer Trends research, based on a survey of 4,150 UK adults aged 16-75.

Of those that have tried a Generative AI tool, almost a third (30%) say that they only used it once or twice, with 28% using it weekly. One in ten (9%) say they use an AI tool at least once a day.

More than two-thirds (70%) of respondents who have used the technology have done so for personal use, while 34% have used it for education purposes. More than half (56%) of 16-19 year olds who have used Generative AI have used the technology for education reasons.

Paul Lee, partner and head of technology, media and telecommunications research commented: “Generative AI has captured the imagination of UK citizens and fuelled discussion among businesses and policymakers. Within just a few months of the launch of the most popular Generative AI tools, one in four people in the UK have already tried out the technology. As a comparison, 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.

“Generative AI technology is, however, still relatively nascent, with user interfaces, regulatory environment, legal status and accuracy still a work in progress. Over the coming months, we are likely to see more investment and development that will address many of these challenges, which could drive further adoption of Generative AI tools.”

Generative AI in the workplace

Deloitte’s research also found a third (32%) of those who have used Generative AI have done so for work, equating to approximately four million people. This is despite the fact that, across all respondents, only 23% believe their employer would approve of them using Generative AI for work purposes.

Costi Perricos, partner and global AI and data lead at Deloitte, said: “With millions of people using Generative AI tools in the workplace, potentially without permission, it is critical that employers offer appropriate guidelines and guardrails so that their people know how, when and where they can use the technology. Businesses will also need to consider how they communicate their own policies on Generative AI to customers and understand how their suppliers are using the technology to ensure transparency. People need to understand the risk and inaccuracies associated with content generated purely from AI, and where possible be informed when content, such as text, images or audio is AI-generated.”

Among all respondents that have heard of Generative AI, 64% believe it may reduce the overall number of jobs available in the future. Furthermore, almost half (48%) of those aware of Generative AI believe it may replace some of their role in the workplace.

Perricos added: “In anticipation of Generative AI increasingly becoming a fixture of the workplace, organisations should prioritise upskilling their workers to thrive alongside this technology. Generative AI has the potential to not only replace routine tasks but also create higher-skilled, non-routine opportunities across the labour market. A key focus for employers should be on how to use these new tools so that they can be applied correctly and create value. This shift is ongoing and set to continue in the coming decades.”

Rightsizing regulation to address perceptions of accuracy in AI responses

Deloitte’s research also revealed that one in five respondents (19%) believe that Generative AI always produces factually accurate responses, rising to 43% for those who have used the technology. In addition, 18% of respondents believe that responses from Generative AI tools are unbiased, rising to 38% for those who have used the technology.

Despite this, when it comes to creativity and replicating art forms, UK citizens seem to be more sceptical about Generative AI’s capabilities. Four in ten people (40%) would be less inclined to listen to music if they knew it had been produced using Generative AI, compared to just 16% who would listen.

Joanna Conway, partner and internet regulation lead at Deloitte Legal, added: “Governments, policymakers and regulators are looking to tap into the potential of AI, while also managing its risks. As more lives and jobs are impacted by AI, the technology must be trustworthy, ethical and as accurate as possible for all of its benefits to be felt.

“Generative AI has the potential to be a powerful tool, but it is imperative that its risks are managed. It is therefore unsurprising to see generative AI regulation emerging across the globe. Through clear and effective rules around data risk management and the key issues of safety, bias, accuracy and liability, policymakers should aim to encourage growth and productivity through AI in a safe and controlled way and to safeguard its users.”


Notes to editors

About the research

Deloitte’s Digital Consumer Trends is a global survey measuring public perception of digital products and services. Spanning 14 years, our research in this field has tracked the history of smart devices such as phones, tablets and VR headset, and applications, like social media, video streaming, and artificial intelligence.

The 2023 UK edition of Digital Consumer Trends is based on a nationally representative survey of 4,150 UK adults aged 16 to 75 between May and June. It is part of a global study involving 17 countries and 27,000 respondents.

The calculation of four million people who have used AI for work, is based on UK Population Estimates, published December 2022 by the Office of National Statistics, which states a total of 49,427,813 citizens between the ages of 16-75.