What consumers’ changing perceptions of AI mean for your brand.

As the US prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, consumers are grappling with a new conversation around independence. Will AI make them more independent? Or too dependent? C Space’s AI Diagnostic longitudinal study uncovers key insights.

by Laurie Bae, Managing Director, and Arjun Chawla, Vice President, C Space

Qualitative and quantitative data tells industries and brands what consumers expect and need from AI.

C Space’s technology experts were curious. How do consumers perceive AI from an array of angles, including unaided associations, recognition of common examples and a big one — AI’s connection to values, emotions and the impact on self and society. So, we rolled up our sleeves and created the AI Diagnostic, a longitudinal study with over 500 US consumers.

To date, our AI Diagnostic shows us that despite the speed of AI disruption, there are key gaps in consumers’ knowledge and trust around AI, as well as their understanding of its current and potential future applications across industries. For example, round one of the AI Diagnostic, which we ran in 2023, illustrated how consumers lack awareness of many pre-existing examples of AI already in their lives. We see this trend persist in 2024 data, despite companies’ increasing focus on AI. This underscores the importance of ensuring that AI products are built and marketed effectively with consumer input and with real examples and language that they understand.

The approach is part of a broader AI Package, which includes qualitative discussion, diary and interview projects to gain further texture on opportunities and guardrails around AI for industries and companies. 

Independence as it relates to AI is top of mind for US consumers this July 4th.

In our latest round of the AI Diagnostic, the theme of ‘independence’ organically emerged – from different angles.

Current sentiments around AI are defined by duality, with equal proportions of our respondents saying AI makes them feel “empowered” (29%) and “anxious” (29%).

In their own words, consumers wonder if AI will…


Expanding their experiences.

“Make driving safer and allow older individuals to be independent.” – Age 66

Limiting their potential.

“Life’s becoming too dependent on AI.” – Age 61

Boosting their ability to learn.

“It will help tutor kids who need it.” – Age 31

Blocking their ability to learn.

“Kids will not learn because of the ease of using AI.” – Age 51

Helping them be more human.

“Free people up to pursue other careers and to more effectively use their time.” – Age 62

Making them too machine-reliant.

“People are becoming more dependent upon services and less likely to figure things out themselves.” – Age 43

Ultimately, as one consumer puts it, whether AI will make people more or less independent will grow out of how it’s designed and deployed:

“AI can lessen the need for humans to work menial or dangerous jobs. However, this is all dependent on how humans and companies choose to implement and continue to develop AI. If AI gets too sloppy and its implementation into society is rushed, it can definitely have a negative impact instead.” – Age 28

At the end of the day, our findings underscore the importance of working closely with consumers to understand:

  • Where consumers feel AI can help them be more independent in their personal and professional lives
  • Where consumers feel AI will make people or companies too dependent on technology
  • Where consumers feel AI could have dual implications depending on how it’s designed or used

How your brand will benefit from C Space’s AI Diagnostic insights.

The AI Diagnostic currently runs at the start and middle of each year to track longitudinal trends and adapt to the evolving AI landscape over time. Each of our first two waves engaged 500+ consumers. We’re currently launching our third wave of the study.

In addition to running the AI Diagnostic among our own proprietary sample of gen pop consumers, companies can run customized versions of the study in their own C Space Online Communities, allowing for tailored questions, audience-specific views and comparisons to gen pop findings.

Curious how C Space can guide you on how to involve the voices of your human customers in shaping your AI efforts?  Contact us to be part of the conversation and ensure that your AI efforts are met with fireworks this Fourth of July (and beyond).

Special thanks to contributors Allyssa Gresser, Director, Brand Strategy & Insights, and Brie Schwarz, Vice President, C Space.