14. SEPTEMBER 2023 AI Gap: 70 Percent of Germans Believe AI Will Help Shape the Future, but Interest in Professional Training Is Low

  • On average, Germans rate their AI skills as moderate to mediocre
  • Only 5 percent still consider AI to be purely hype
  • Groups that already consider their AI knowledge to be relatively good mainly seek out further training
  • The results differ strongly between generations and genders

Passau, September 14, 2023 – On a scale of 1 to 10, Germans rate their AI knowledge as a 5.5. This is the result of a survey* featuring more than 2,000 citizens commissioned by the software company One Data. The findings of the survey served as the basis for determining an AI competence score. Men from generations Y and Z scored particularly highly, while women from the baby boomer cohorts recorded particularly low scores. In total, 36 percent of all respondents would like to receive further training in AI. Among those participants who already consider themselves competent, this figure rises to 58 percent.

The AI competence score in detail   

To determine the score, respondents were asked to assess their own knowledge of AI on a scale of 1–10. The figures in each case represent the mean value of the corresponding (sub)group.

The assessment of all respondents can be divided into thirds: 33 percent, respectively, rate themselves as competent (score of 7–10), average (score of 5–6) or poor (score of 1–4). However, if we look at these values separately by gender, we see that men generally rate their AI competence as higher: 41 percent state they are competent (score of 7–10) compared to only 26 percent of women. This differentiation can be seen not only in the overall average but in each generation group, as the table shows based on the mean values.

Lack of interest in further training

Although 70 percent of survey participants believe AI will shape our future, only 36 percent overall are willing to improve their education on topics relating to artificial intelligence. This figure is already significantly higher among younger generations: 47 percent of millennials wish to deepen their AI knowledge, while for Gen Z this is as high as 50 percent.

This proportion is also higher overall and across all generations among men, with 42 percent intending to continue their education compared to only 30 percent of women. An even greater gap becomes clear when looking separately at the group that rates its AI skills as competent. In this segment, 58 percent plan to continue their education. By contrast, only 16 percent of respondents in the segment that assess themselves as poor intend to do so.

One in four believes in AI revolution

The vast majority of Germans agree that artificial intelligence is a topic that will be relevant in the long term, as evidenced by the fact that 95 percent of those surveyed do not believe artificial intelligence is simply hype. A total of 43 percent think it will change some aspects of society, while 27 percent see AI as a revolutionary technology that will fundamentally change the world. By contrast, 13 percent relegate AI to the status of “trend” that will be around for a while without changing the world. Only five percent of all survey participants see AI as merely hype that will disappear in time. Surprisingly, younger people in particular are more likely to use the hype argument: nine percent of Gen Z are of this opinion compared to just three percent of the baby boomer generation.

Artificial intelligence also appears to be already widespread in practice. Only 16 percent answered that they never come into contact with the technology, whereas 38 percent of all respondents state that they encounter AI in everyday life at least once a week. However, there is also some skepticism and reservations about AI. For example, only 30 percent of respondents say they trust artificial intelligence to provide reliable answers and use data correctly. A total of 40 percent are convinced AI can lie. The so-called “AI bias” is also a topic of discussion among the German population: at 62 percent, the majority believe the linguistic and cultural background of developers has an influence on artificial intelligence.

Digital participation is crucial

“This study has arrived at very some different results. On the one hand, the vast majority of Germans are certain AI will accompany us into the future, and many people are aware that they are already now coming into regular contact with this technology in their day-to-day lives. On the other hand, a big gap is evident, both in terms of existing knowledge about AI and the willingness to educate oneself on this topic,” states Dr. Andreas Böhm, CEO and founder of One Data GmbH. “What is particularly problematic about this is that the majority of people who want to further their education already consider their knowledge to be good. Among the third of the population who consider their knowledge to be insufficient, this willingness is substantially reduced. There is a danger here of a self-reinforcing process, whereby knowledge and skills in the field of AI are concentrated within a small group, while large swathes of society are left behind. We must prevent this and instead ensure all people – regardless of gender, age, origin, etc. – can benefit from AI technology of the future. In terms of digital participation, information campaigns and further training opportunities are –essential, as is involvement from politics and business. AI companies like One Data also have a responsibility to develop products that offer added value for all people.”

*The data used is based on an online survey conducted by YouGov Deutschland GmbH on behalf of One Data, in which 2,065 people participated between August 2 and 5, 2023. The results were weighted and are representative of the German population aged 18 and over.

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