Brave New AI: Consumers Worry About Privacy, Ethical Issues

For all the hype about generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), consumers have deep reservations about it, according to GenAI: What consumers want, a study by Thoughtworks. 

To ease the suspense, we’ll tell you right now that they demand a responsible approach. 

What are they worried about?  

Thoughtworks surveyed 10,000 consumers across the globe, and found that they are stressed about privacy and the ethics of GenAI.  

For one thing, 91% have concerns about privacy, specifically:  

  • Whether security measures are in place to protect your data from cyber-attacks and breaches — 60%
  • Whether your data is shared with third parties — 58%
  • Unauthorized access to your data by unauthorized personnel — 57% 
  • How your data is stored and retained — 55% 
  • Whether your data is anonymous or linked to your personal identity (such as telephone number, home address) — 53%
  • Having the ability to ensure you have consented to your data being used and can opt out of data collection if desired — 49%



Only 3% are unconcerned, and 5% say they never thought about it. And 1% don’t know.  

Do we need government regulation? Of the consumers polled, 56% don’t think regulations will be adhered to. 

Then there is the issue of ethics: 93% have concerns, including:

  • Data use without consent — 71%
  • Misinformation — 67% 
  • Plagiarism — 55%
  • Harmful content — 55% 
  • Human/societal bias — 47%

On top of this, 92% say businesses using GenAI without incorporating responsible and ethical thinking risk consequences such as:  

  • Legal and regulatory issues — 65% 
  • Reputational damage — 65% 
  • Consumer dissatisfaction — 58% 
  • Financial damage — 57% 
  • Damage to partner relationships — 43% 
  • Loss of competitive damage — 40%

Again, only 3% feel businesses will not face any impact, and 5% don’t know.  

Don’t consumers see any good in AI at all? 

Well yes: 72% worldwide have some feelings of excitement. But it varies by country: India is first, with 95% showing enthusiasm, versus 57% in Australia. And in the U.S.? Only 63% are psyched by the idea of Gen AI.  



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