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Millennials: Thrilled Or Threatened By AI?

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

| AI + T |

Millennials are now the largest consumer group. As a result, it only makes sense for businesses to consider their thoughts and feelings when deciding which technologies to invest in. One of the most promising areas of innovation is Artificial Intelligence (AI), technology that functions in traditionally human ways. Since 2000, there has been a 7X increase in VC investments in AI start-ups. Plenty of businesses are adopting AI technology and the global revenues from “smart” enterprise applications with expected growth from $1.62B in 2018 to $31.2B by 2025.

Evidently, the business interest is there. However, it is worth asking a key question, are millennials thrilled or threatened by AI?

The answer is more or less complicated. Nearly a third of millennials understand AI and have some experience with it. This is significantly higher than previous generations. To a degree, we know they aren’t ignoring this technology or running from it. Needless to say, that can be a function of necessity as much as it is interest or desire.

One important aspect to note is that a large portion of millennials’ experience with AI is related to chatbots. More than other generations, millennials engage with Siri, Alexa, and a diversity of messenger bots hosted by their favorite brands. Bots are already curating product recommendations based upon previous purchases and other information, giving users the option to make purchases and payments directly from messenger apps and offering them assistance with customer support. Particularly when there are issues with product manufacture timelines or a crisis disrupts the supply chain.


Millennials aren’t just the largest consumer group. They are now the prime workforce. This means that just like their parents and grandparents worried about how machines and computers could take their jobs, millennials have the same concerns about AI. In fact, roughly 80% worry about their work duties being fully or partially taken over by AI technology.

Another concern that millennials have is the way that AI collects, stores and uses data. Intelligence agencies have already proven that AI was used to collect social media data, creating bots in the form of social media profiles and targeting people with false and manipulative content in order to influence the recent election. There is real fear that AI will be used to exploit information in other ways as well. This isn’t speculative fear either, just over 90% of cybersecurity professionals fear that AI can be used to compromise company or customer data.


Despite of being digital natives, and known for being very receptive to innovative technologies, millennials have been noticeably slow to embrace Internet of Things (IoT). The interconnection through the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to collect and exchange data. They have concerns about the security of these devices and seek reassurance when it comes to the personal data being collected and transmitted. Getting millennials to embrace IoT will require creating devices that are better secured and being more transparent about their use of data.

An idea that is driving concern about IoT is the concept of ownership. For instance, if someone purchases an appliance that isn’t connected, there are no questions. They own that item. There’s nothing else to contemplate. However, what happens if they purchase a ‘smart’ appliance? Obviously, they own the machine, but their access to the connected features is likely subscription based. So, who owns the data that is collected and transmitted? If they no longer wish to use those features, is that data deleted? Can companies continue using that information for marketing or other purposes? Will that data be protected when someone is no longer renting the service?


“When data collected by AI bots or other technologies is predictable, it is easier for hackers to access,” explains Artem Koltsov, founder of CasperProject. “When that information travels along the same networks, and is stored on centralized servers, getting to that data is much less complex. With decentralized applications (Dapps), a new breed of applications not controlled by any one single entity, this isn't the case. Because information is distributed, there is no centralized point from which to steal or compromise data. Since AI is widely used through ecommerce, the use of distributed apps is one step towards protecting, personal, financial, and legal information.”

The increasing use of application performance management (APM) can also boost confidence overall in the security of AI and associated IoT devices, according to AppOptics. APM tools can help app developers and business leaders better monitor their backend application architecture to discover and resolve user experience (UX) and performance issues, including security and privacy risks, in an appropriate manner.

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