Jan 10, 2024

4 Ways U.S. Adults Are Embracing Artificial Intelligence (or Not)

As artificial intelligence (AI) appears in headline after headline, Barna is partnering with Gloo to assess the growing questions, skepticism and excitement surrounding the technology.

Though many are still growing to understand AI, Barna data shows that many U.S. adults are using the technology regularly in their work and personal lives. Already, 31 percent of U.S. adults say they use AI weekly or daily. Millennials have become especially frequent adopters, with 43 percent of them using AI at least weekly.

While AI is becoming a favored tool for more laborious tasks like research and analytics, Barna data shows it’s still widely untrusted as a source of expertise in more personal matters like advice or faith. Let’s dive deeper into how U.S. adults are using today’s advancements in artificial intelligence—or choosing to opt out.

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U.S. Adults See AI Bringing Change to Their Personal Lives, But There’s Little Rush to Adopt the Technology Themselves
Generally, few U.S. adults are rushing to incorporate AI into their own routines and rhythms—a considerable 68 percent of Americans answered “not really” or “not at all” when asked if they feel a sense of urgency to integrate AI into their lives. There is, however, greater acceptance of the change that AI is bringing. Nearly half of U.S. adults (48%) agree AI will “change my everyday life.”

While U.S. adults are more likely to say they are only using AI “not very much” (27%) or “not at all” (36%) in their personal life, the technology is becoming popular among younger generations. Millennials and Gen Z use AI most frequently in their personal lives, with over half (54%) of both groups using the technology “often” or “sometimes.” Meanwhile, older generations are far less likely to embrace AI (82% of Boomers and 91% of Elders say they use AI “not very much” or “not at all.”)

Overall, AI Is Viewed as an Important Tool in a Person’s Professional Life
AI is making its way into the workplace. One in three working U.S. adults (34%) say they use AI “often” or “sometimes” for their job, and two in five of all U.S. adults (42%) agree, “AI is going to change the way I work.” Among those who work full-time, this sentiment is even higher at 55 percent, alluding to growing awareness of how AI could be used in the office and beyond.

Interestingly, working Christians are using AI for their job more than non-Christians. Thirty-nine percent of these self-identified Christians say they use AI for work at least “sometimes,” compared to 26 percent of non-Christians. Non-Christians are far more likely to say “not at all” when asked how often they use AI for work (38% of working Christians vs. 52% of working non-Christians).

AI Is Viewed as a Tool for Research, Answering Questions—Not Advice, Spiritual Questions
U.S. adults don’t see AI as a “catch-all” tool to be used for every kind of problem or need. Instead, they are most interested in using AI for answering questions (37%) and research (35%)—and they’re far less interested in using this technology for advice (14%) or spiritual questions (8%).

Going further, there’s even less desire to use AI to learn about Christianity or the Bible. Just eight percent of Christians and four percent of non-Christians are interested in using AI to study the Bible. We see similar numbers when it comes to the use of AI to learn about Christianity (6% and 3%, respectively).

Most Feel AI Should Be Used Cautiously, Especially for More Nuanced Matters
Furthermore, artificial intelligence is not considered a trusted source for answers of faith, as only 27 percent of Americans agree, “If I were to ask a question about Christian teachings and beliefs to an AI tool, I would trust its response.” Compared to non-Christians, Christians are more likely to agree with this statement than non-Christians (29% vs. 23%, respectively).

These findings suggest two takeaways: First, there may be a need for greater digital literacy directed at Christians who seek to use AI to answer nuanced questions about faith. The higher trust Christians have in AI for these purposes is notable and something for Christian leaders to note.

Second, given the lack of trust from non-Christians with AI and faith, leaders will want to be mindful if choosing to use AI as any sort of evangelistic or apologetic tool—you may be met with skepticism or outright distrust.

For now, artificial intelligence seems to be most valuable to U.S. adults when it can help with more tedious tasks like research and analytics, especially in the workplace. But AI is still far from being widely adopted, especially among older generations, and it is not yet trusted as a tool to answer more complicated and highly personal questions. For those big life questions, a human touch seems to still be preferred.

About the Research

This data is based on a survey of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted online from July 28–August 7, 2023, via a consumer research panel. The margin of error for the sample is +/- 2.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. Quotas were set to representation by region, race / ethnicity, education, age and gender based on the U.S. Census Bureau. Minimal statistical weighting has been applied to maximize sample representation.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash.

© Barna Group, 2024.

About Barna

Since 1984, Barna Group has conducted more than two million interviews over the course of thousands of studies and has become a go-to source for insights about faith, culture, leadership, vocation and generations. Barna is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization.

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