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Digital Transformation Artificial Intelligence Gen Z

Gen Z is more optimistic about AI – and less worried about data privacy

By Emily Lowes, Global marketing director

Raptor Marketing


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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May 14, 2024 | 8 min read

Write me an essay plan, a revision guide, and tell me what to eat for the week. Emily Lowes of Raptor says that understanding how gen Z uses – and feels about – AI is key to marketing it successfully to them.

Two young people using electronic devices sit at a table outside in a park

A majority of gen Z will pay for AI, and many say they don't care about privacy / Eliott Reyna via Unsplash

AI is a topic at the forefront of marketers’ minds, with new developments leading to a mass adoption of technology to influence efficiency, creativity, and outputs across the industry. However, where many are missing the mark is understanding the everyday ways AI is influencing, and changing, the next generation’s approach to technology.

At Raptor, we interviewed a selection of students to find out what gen Z really thinks about AI developments, how it is being used in everyday life, and their perspectives on the future. We compared this insight with our national student survey to identify three core areas of development that marketers should be aware of when it comes to gen Z and AI in the year ahead.

Majority of students pay for AI

Gen Z is actively using AI in their everyday lives and is excited by its possibilities, in contrast to what they view as an adverse reaction by older generations. Chat GPT (OpenAI) and Gemini (formerly Bard, Google) are the leading generative AI platforms that students are using to aid their day-to-day lives with 70% of students paying for a premium version of the services to enhance their experience.

Coursework and education is a core reason for this, with universities introducing AI detection tools alongside plagiarism checks in their feedback due to the number of students using generative AI software to support their studies.

What does this mass adoption of AI among gen Z mean for marketers? Most importantly, that AI will be coming to an office near you whether you like it or not. As the next generation of employees, generation Z will be leading the charge regarding the use of AI to improve efficiency in workflows, generate creativity, and plan ahead.

While AI use cases in education are seeing a spike, gen Z’s use of AI is now expanding into everyday life. Generative AI is being molded by students to help them become efficient in their extracurriculars, hobbies, and even their health and wellbeing.

Zenae, a final-year student at the University of Manchester, noted “Chat is good at revision plans but also at gym plans and meal plans. I plan my week using ChatGPT and always use it for my creative hobbies and tasks”. The term “Chat” has now entered gen Z vocabulary as a slang term for the platform due to its mass adoption. If you’re not using ‘Chat’, then you aren’t in the know.

The second core area of development for gen Z is that AI is impacting almost every area of students’ lives – not merely educationally but also creatively and in their passions. Marketers should take note of this significant technological shift and see the opportunity for emerging tech developments to establish a new normal when it comes to young relationships with technology.

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Is privacy a thing of the past?

When asked what the drawbacks of AI might be, our subject group was full of contradictions. While students brought up a variety of issues that generative AI may have including biased learning models, untrustworthy information, and privacy concerns – they weren’t put off from using the platforms.

Ava, a second-year student at Leeds University, noted: “I’m at a point where I feel like my data is so out there that I don’t care. I had a lecture recently that said anything that you use that’s free, you’re paying for with your data. We’re the workers of the big corporations by using their stuff. We have no control of data and what it’s being used for, it doesn’t really bother me”. A lack of care for data and privacy was a concurrent theme among our findings, however improving mass adoption of AI was a topic for which gen Z was full of recommendations.

Education was at the forefront of student minds when it came to AI. The majority of participants noted that they taught themselves to use generative AI, and that they’d like to see a wider educational drive for society as a whole to learn about the benefits, drawbacks, and use cases of AI to help the technology have a wider positive impact.

What does this mean for marketers? Gen Z isn’t afraid of AI, and therefore the marketing industry will need to become comfortable with understanding, educating, and contextualizing use cases of AI for consumers. A great example of this in practice is the Google Pixel 8: AI in Your Hands campaign which shows its AI features in the context of everyday usage – removing barriers to entry for those interested in exploring their products.

AI is here to stay, and while the headlines might seem gloomy – gen Z is envisaging a better future through the adoption of the technology. To keep up with the next generation marketers must be willing to implement AI into their organizations to improve their working style, harness the consumer opportunity of AI impacting a variety of areas of life alongside realizing the power of education in advertising use cases for AI technology.

Digital Transformation Artificial Intelligence Gen Z

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Raptor Marketing

We are Raptor, the student marketing agency.

We’re a team of young, hungry student marketing specialists who help build lasting connections between students,...

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