AI software sees 'unprecedented' rise in Flanders, study shows

One in every three people in Flanders has tried using an artificial intelligence (AI) tool, while 18 per cent use them regularly. These are the findings of the latest Digimeter from research centre imec, which measures knowledge, attitudes and use of technology and media in Flanders.

The Digimeter is an annual study, but this is the first time that knowledge and use of AI tools has been included in the questionnaire. Never before has a software program made ​ such a rapid a breakthrough in Flanders, the statistics show.

90 per cent of respondents say they are familiar with AI, and 80 per cent are familiar with generative AI. More than a third have used AI, and 18 per cent are "habitual users" who have implemented AI in their daily lives. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, 42 per cent are considered habitual users.

Unprecedented disruption

"This is really unprecedented," says professor of society and innovation Lieven De Marez. "TikTok and Netflix, the two most disruptive platforms of the last decade, took 3.5 and six years respectively to reach the level that generative AI has reached in just one year."

The Digimeter also found that people are concerned about the impact of AI software on society. More than 60 per cent say they fear they will no longer be able to tell the difference between what is created by a human and what is created by software, and seven in 10 respondents say they are concerned about the impact on disinformation.

Concerns about smartphone use

The Digimeter also revealed other information about how people in Flanders interact with society. The average citizen spends 182 minutes a day on their phone, with 40 per cent of that time spent on social media. Four in 10 people think they spend too much time on their phones.

Young people use social media the most. On average, 18- to 24-year-olds spend 80 minutes a day on TikTok alone. This age group is also increasingly concerned about how addicted they are to their smartphones: 70 per cent of them consider themselves dependent, a 9 per cent increase from 2022.



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