What Americans think about ChatGPT and AI-generated text

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
February 01, 2023, 2:47 PM GMT+0

Are you familiar with ChatGPT? According to a recent poll by YouGov, a little less than half of Americans (46%) have heard at least something about OpenAI's new AI-text-generating program, and just 6% have used it. As with many new technologies, AI-based text generation evokes mixed opinions on how it will affect society, according to recent polling by YouGov — though more Americans see negatives than positives. While some believe the technology will change things for the better, others are skeptical, especially when it comes to AI's effect on the job market.

While most Americans (54%) say they've heard "nothing at all" about ChatGPT, 34% say they've heard a little about it and 13% say they've heard a lot. Men, younger adults, and Americans with higher levels of education are more likely than average to be familiar with the software.

How many people have used ChatGPT? While just 6% of Americans say they've personally used the program, an additional 17% say they have seen text that the program generated for someone else using it.

When asked to describe in their own words their experiences using the platform, the few people who had used it shared a variety of use cases, including using ChatGPT to assist with schoolwork, prepare for an interview, and help with English translation. One person said they used it to find out what steps to take to change their legal name. Some users expressed skepticism about the program — such as, "it's creepy" or "still needs work." Others were far more optimistic, with one user stating, "I think it will change everything. If used properly it will be the next technology to alter our society."

Overall, however, more Americans think that advancements in AI-based text generation will be bad for society (36%) than think they will be good (13%), with 23% believing they will be neither good nor bad. People who say they personally use AI tools at least somewhat often are more optimistic: 30% say it will be good for society, compared to just 4% of people who say they never use AI tools.

Nearly half of Americans (46%) believe that advancements in AI will lead to fewer jobs, while just 14% say they will lead to more jobs and 17% say AI advancements will not change the number of jobs. As with beliefs about AI tools' overall impact on society, people who personally rely on the tools are more likely than those who don't to believe AI will increase the number of available jobs: 33% of people who use the tools at least somewhat often say AI advances will lead to more jobs, compared to 6% of people who never do.

At YouGov, we’ve begun to use ChatGPT to assist in the creation of polls. For a recent survey, we used the service to brainstorm policies regarding the U.S. tech industry to poll Americans about.

— Carl Bialik and Linley Sanders contributed to this article

See the results for this YouGov poll

Methodology: This poll was conducted online on January 24 - 27, 2023 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to March 15, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 28% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 4%.

Image: Adobe Stock (phonlamaiphoto)

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