Generative AI (Gen AI) became popular with consumers in 2022, when several user-friendly text-based AI systems were released to the public. Yet despite its infancy, respondents to a new KPMG UK poll have expressed an urgency for laws around the technology, with over half (53%) saying that regulation should be introduced as soon as possible, and almost everyone (96%) thinking that Gen AI regulation is either very or somewhat important.

A further 18% want to see Gen AI regulation enforced in the next six months, and 14% said they would like it implemented within a year. However, with new laws, such as the EU AI Act, not actually becoming applicable for at least another twelve months, they will have to wait.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents said they do not currently feel safe using generative AI, with an additional 4% saying they do not feel safe using it at all. But when asked what would make them feel better protected, over half (53%) of the participants said that increased regulation is key.

Others (43%) said that education from the Gen AI creator about how to use it properly played a role in making them feel safer using the technology. However, 13% of people would like Gen AI to be taken away altogether because they are so apprehensive about it.

In terms of what people are most worried about when it comes to the impact of Gen AI, the top concern was its use for criminal intent (52%), closely followed by the misappropriation of information entered into a Gen AI model, such as photos, health information, and personal details (51%).

Bearing in mind that more than 2 billion voters are set to go to the polls in 50 countries this year, it is concerning that almost half (46%) of people are anxious about misinformation and disinformation around elections. As the technology has been used to create deepfakes of politicians, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Keir Starmer already falling victim to it, their fears are certainly warranted.

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Despite concerns about generative AI, over a third (37%) of respondents said that its benefits outweigh the risks. Furthermore, over three quarters (78%) were either very or somewhat optimistic about the impact of generative AI on society as a whole.

Commenting on this, KPMG data, digital, and technology leader, Usman Wahid, said: “Governments and regulators around the world, including the UK, are working to put appropriate guardrails in place for Gen AI so people can benefit from this new technology.

“But our data suggests that people want the companies creating these models to do more to teach the public about how to use them safely. Generative AI businesses should take this as an opportunity to not only build trust with their customers but also help them get better results when using their tools.”