ChatGPT: Who's using the AI tool and why?

A new report shows that 44% of the people surveyed use ChatGPT at least once a week.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Person using ChatGPT on a laptop.
June Wan/ZDNET

ChatGPT has quickly turned into a global phenomenon, with people using it to find information, ask questions, and generate different types of content. But just how popular is the service? How often do most folks use it and for what purposes? Based on a March 2023 survey of 1,024 Americans and 103 AI experts, a new report from WordFinder by YourDictionary attempts to answer those questions.

First, here's a breakdown of the people who were surveyed. Among them, 57% were men, 39% were women, and 4% were nonbinary or gender non-conforming. Further, 7% were baby boomers, 22% were Gen X, 62% were millennials, and 9% were Gen Z. The experts questioned had anywhere from six months to more than five years of experience working with AI.

Also: How to write better ChatGPT prompts

Asked how often they use ChatGPT, a full 46% said they've used it only once or twice. Out of the rest, 10% use it several times a month, 20% use it once a week, 19% use it several times a week, and 5% use it every day. More than half of the number of people in each age group use ChatGPT regularly (at least several times a month) with baby boomers at 54%, Gen X at 51%, Millennials at 55%, and Gen Z at 61%.

Who is using ChatGPT?
WordFinder by YourDictionary

By industry, those in the tech field are the biggest users of ChatGPT with 62% of them using it regularly. Some 59% of healthcare workers and 56% of those in marketing also use it on a regular basis. Less frequent users included people in construction at 51%, those in business services at 50%, and those in education at 50%.

How much time do people spend in an average ChatGPT session? Some 4% spend less than a minute, 29% from 1 to 5 minutes, 38% from 6 to 10 minutes, 19% from 11 to 30 minutes, 8% from 31 to 60 minutes, and 2% more than an hour.

People have been using ChatGPT for work, school, and entertainment. How has its use played out across these different areas? Among people at work, 41% said they use the AI site to generate ideas, 20% use it to create content, 14% use it to respond to emails, 11% use it to generate computer code, 10% use it to write resumes and cover letters, and 9% use it to create presentations.

Also: How to use ChatGPT to create an app

There's always talk about people losing their jobs to AI and automation. But how pervasive is that fear when it comes to ChatGPT? Not very. On average, only 6% of workers were concerned about losing their jobs to this particular AI, with just 7% of Millennials, 6% of Gen Z, 5% of Gen X, and 0% of baby boomers expressing this type of anxiety.

However, many of the employees using ChatGPT on the job have been doing so without the knowledge of their employers. Out of the 1 in 4 people using the service for work, 29% admitted that they've done it behind their employer's back. And do they get in trouble if found out? Among those caught sneaking in some ChatGPT sessions at the office, 68% said that nothing happened, while 18% were asked how to use it. Only 4% were reprimanded and 2% actually fired.

Who uses ChatGPT for work?
WordFinder by YourDictionary

At school, both educators and students are using ChatGPT for various reasons. Asked how they use AI for educational purposes, 33% cited research, 18% use it to explain difficult concepts, 15% use it to learn new skills, 11% use it to write papers, 6% for book summaries, 5% to get homework answers, and 3% to study for exams.

Of course, people also use ChatGPT for fun and entertainment. And here, the chatbot proved popular in a variety of tasks, including creative writing prompts, finding recipes, translating languages, writing poetry or song lyrics, creating personalized meal plans, finding craft instructions, planning trip itineraries, generating personalized workout plans, finding video game cheats, and finding makeup tips.

Also: How to use ChatGPT: What you need to know

Next, the 103 AI experts were asked to predict if and how they think ChatGPT and AI will play more of a role in our lives. Looking at the ways it will change how we work, 73% of the experts said that it will increase efficiency, 68% said it will automate tasks, 63% said it will analyze data, 62% said it will improve accuracy, and 57% said it will write our emails.

How will ChatGPT change the way we work?
WordFinder by YourDictionary

ChatGPT is also expected to alter the way we communicate, with the experts eyeing such benefits as improving the accuracy of language translation, making communication more efficient, developing more natural dialogue, allowing sentiments in text to be better understood, and reducing the need for face-to-face interactions.

Finally, how might ChatGPT evolve over the next five years? Among the experts surveyed, 87% said it will become more accurate and efficient, 74% said it will be used across more industries, 72% said it will become more accessible, 65% said it will be able to generate text in more languages, and 65% said it will understand more complex tasks.

Also: How to make ChatGPT provide sources and citations

"In our study, we found that ChatGPT is definitely gaining more popularity among Americans outside of tech than previous AI advancements have," said Rachel Kirsch, a creative strategist at WordFinder by YourDictionary. "Furthermore, for many people, it's become normal, with 60% of Gen Z saying they used ChatGPT regularly. Looking to the future, our experts think that in five years, ChatGPT will be more accurate, efficient, and understand tasks, which may encourage even more ChatGPT use in the future."

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