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Gen Z Australians show high usage of AI, reveals new report
Mon, 18th Mar 2024

A new report from KPMG, Microsoft, and Year 13 reveals that 84% of Gen Z Australians have used Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) for educational, professional, or personal purposes. Australian youth from lower socio-economic families and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds appeared to have the most interest in the technology.

Notably, a survey titled "AI Amplified: What Gen Zs Think of AI" discovered an 'artificial intelligence gap', with significant disparities noted based on socio-economic position, cultural background, and gender. While 84% of the 1048 Gen Z Australians aged between 15 and 24 surveyed have utilised Gen AI, only 27% claimed to have an 'excellent/very good' understanding of it.

According to Year13 Co-Founder Will Stubley, "The survey findings underscore the growing significance of AI in the lives of young Australians and why it's crucial to provide educational resources and opportunities that enable all young people to leverage AI effectively for personal and professional growth. Young people are excited but realistic about AI's benefits and potential risks."

The research underlines intriguing disparities relating to AI’s accessibility and usage, especially pointing to gaps across socio-economic and cultural lines, as well as between genders. They found that 41% of young Australians from low socio-economic backgrounds claim a 'good' to 'excellent' understanding of AI, compared to only 25% from more affluent families. The youth from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds showed similar trends, with both groups expressing stronger interests in learning more about the technology.

The statistics also revealed gender disparities. 32% of male respondents indicated a significant interest in AI, compared to just 18% of females, signifying the continuous gender gap in IT engagement.

"AI is set to transform how we work, and Gen Z are those who are set to be the drivers of this change," said KPMG Australia Chief Digital Officer John Munnelly. "While it is encouraging to see that AI is crossing economic and cultural divides, there is work to be done to ensure that all young people – and especially women and girls – are supported to build skills and confidence in the technology."

Survey results showed that AI is primarily used by Gen Z for personal (64%) and educational (60%) purposes, with only 15% using it for professional purposes. Despite this, only 40% of school students reported learning about AI in school, with over half (55%) indicating the need for more AI activities and projects.

The three most used Gen AI tools in this demographic were ChatGPT (71%), Snapchat My AI Chatbot (27%), and Quillbot (16%). Microsoft's General Manager of Corporate External and Legal Affairs, John Galligan, emphasised, "It’s clear they’re interested in using and learning more about the technology, but we need to ensure equity of access, so no one is left behind."

In light of these findings, stakeholders are urged to develop measures to ensure broad inclusion and access to AI knowledge and usage, to prepare young Australians for an AI-driven future.