Gen Z looks to AI to overcome its data anxiety – but the rest of us are worried


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Despite feeling the most anxious about their personal data, Gen Z is the generation most willing to use AI to better understand that data for making more informed decisions, according to a Salesforce survey of 1,000 Americans. 

Also: Don’t tell your AI anything personal, Google warns 

Gen Z has grown up with lots of personal data to manage and the volume of data will continue to grow. The amount of data created, captured, and consumed worldwide is expected to grow more than 180 zettabytes by 2025 – equivalent to 6.8 billion years of continuous Netflix streaming. 

According to a United Nations report, 93.2% of young people view AI and robots positively and embrace their potential. Studies show that more than one-third of Gen Z is using generative AI at work already, so there is clear evidence that younger generations are more comfortable and willing to use AI for personal and professional needs.

But are younger generations more willing to use AI to better understand and manage their personal data — financial, health and wellness? Here are some key findings based on survey results:

  • Data overload is overwhelming: More than 40% of Americans say they are overwhelmed by their personal data and looking at it makes them anxious – that number rises to over 50% for Gen Z in particular.
  • Financial data is crucial yet most intimidating: Americans identify financial data as the most important and the most intimidating type of personal data.
  • Younger generations struggle with data literacy: Gen Z members are 36% more likely than baby boomers to have difficulty understanding their data. More than half (55%) of Gen Z does not have a complete picture of their personal data.
  • Fifty-two percent of Americans would rather read a history book than analyze their personal data.
  • The top three most important types of data for Gen Z are financial data, health and fitness data, and technology usage data. 
  • The three most intimidating types of personal data for Gen Z are: financial data, technology use data, and health and fitness data. 
  • Visualization and insights make data more approachable and actionable. The three most actionable data formats for personal data are push notifications, visualizations, and emailed insights. Visualization is the most actionable data format, say 78% of Gen Z. 
  • Gen Z is prepared to overcome data anxiety with AI. Although most Americans are worried about giving AI access to their data, Gen Z is more willing to use AI. 
  • A key concern with AI is user consent: 72% are worried AI tools will use personal data without consent. Gen Z is willing to use AI (55%) to better understand personal data — with assumed benefits of saving time (57%) and actionable next steps with better outcomes (58%).

We are all surrounded by oceans of data, yet we are thirsty for clean, relevant, trustworthy, and actional data that can help us make better, more informed decisions and actions. 

Also: Employees input sensitive data into generative AI tools despite the risks

Just as the Earth’s surface is 72% water, yet only 1% of that water is safe to drink, one promise of AI is to help us find the data that can save us time, money, and energy in world that is producing more data — including personal data — that we can possibly manage on our own. 

The best use of technology is to improve quality of life. Perhaps the biggest promise of AI will be to inform and empower us so that we develop the best possible understanding of how our personal data can be used to improve ourselves and those around us. 





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