What Users Do With Generative AI Studies from Filtered and Pew uncover trends in generative AI usage

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Chart showing how people are using generative AI according to a recent survey

Generative AI is being used mostly to generate ideas.

What’s new: The tech consultancy Filtered studied the most common uses for generative AI. While most gen AI users produced text, the study surprisingly found that users were slightly more likely to generate videos than images.

How it works: The analysts sifted through tens of thousands of posts on popular online forums for anecdotes that described uses of generative AI. The analysts grouped the posts into a list of 100 most popular uses of generative AI and ranked each one by reach and value added. 

  • Most often, individuals used generative AI as an aid to brainstorming, both at work and otherwise. They also turned to generative AI for specific suggestions, like recommending movies, suggesting holiday destinations, and generating characters for role-playing games.
  • Other uses in the top five: text editing, emotional support, deep dives into niche subjects, and searching for information. (One poster used a chatbot to track down the brand of cookie his grandmother liked.)
  • Many users employed generative AI to revise their own work, for example troubleshooting or optimizing code, editing emails before sending them, improving marketing copy, or tweaking images.
  • Workplace-related uses included drafting cover letters, creating notes in preparation for meetings, summarizing meetings after they happened, and analyzing sales data. Many students found generative AI useful as a learning aid to review course materials or create personalized ways to learn.
  • Many users found that generative AI helped them better understand technical information, such as legal advice or medical expertise. Users relied on chatbots for tasks that might have required them to consult a human expert, like drafting legal complaints, summarizing jargon-filled documents, and seeking information on medical test results.

Behind the news: The range of use cases reflects the huge number of people, from all walks of life and all parts of the world, who are using generative AI tools. In a given week in November 2023, more than 100 million people used ChatGPT, the most popular of these tools. Independently, in February 2024, Pew Research found that 23 percent of U.S. adults had used ChatGPT at least once, including 43 percent of respondents under 30 years old and 37 percent of those with postgraduate degrees. According to the Pew report, 20 percent of all Americans had used ChatGPT for work, and 17 percent had used it for entertainment, with younger and more educated users leading the way.

Why it matters: It’s clear that millions of people use generative AI but less clear how they use it. Understanding how and where they actually apply it is helpful for anyone who aims to develop new generative AI products and services or plans to integrate the tech into their organization.

We’re thinking: While it’s encouraging that more than a fifth of U.S. adults have tried ChatGPT,  it also suggests huge room for growth in generative AI at large.


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