Data Solutions

Data security and privacy: the 50+ generation’s biggest concern

date: 31 October 2023
reading time: 6 min

A recent survey by Future Processing shed light on the complex relationship between older adults and AI integration. To explore the Sharon generation's concerns, we examined the survey responses of over 2000 UK users, uncovering the most pressing AI-related concerns.

Remember Sharon, the lovely lady who shared her AI experiences in our last article? Even though she only exists statistically, the deep dive into her concerns about the latest technology speaks volumes about her generation. Today, we delve deeper into her story. Join us as we explore Sharon’s greatest fears about AI technology and learn how IT companies can support her in overcoming these concerns.

AI concerns uncovered: insights from 50+ Users

In our study, participants were categorised into three age groups: 50-59, 60-69, and 70-79. One of the key questions in the survey was: What are the main worries that plague the minds of respondents like Sharon? According to their respective age groups, we learned some interesting things. Let’s explore the main concerns about AI technology that the 50+ generation might have.

Key Insights from the 50-59 Age Group

Among those aged 50-59, the top concerns regarding AI include a strong focus on security, a preference for human interaction, and an emphasis on data privacy:

  • Security: Leading the charge, 41% of individuals in this group voiced their apprehensions about AI’s security. They want their digital interactions to be ironclad.
  • Prefer interacting with a human: Following closely behind, 37% preferred good old-fashioned human interaction when it comes to complex tasks or emotional support.
  • Data privacy: Right on the heels of human interaction, 36% stressed the importance of safeguarding their data.

60-69-Year-Olds’ Perspectives

In the 60-69 age group, security remains a top priority, mirroring the sentiments of younger participants. Additionally, a strong preference for human interaction for personalised experiences and a continued emphasis on data privacy were notable trends.

  • Security: Unsurprisingly, 42% in this age bracket also had security as their primary concern, echoing the sentiments of their slightly younger counterparts.
  • Prefer interacting with a human: A parallel trend emerged here, with 42% desiring human interaction for a more personalised touch.
  • Data privacy: Once again, data privacy ranked high, with 41% emphasising the need to keep their information under lock and key.

Discoveries Among the 70-79 Age Group

In the 70-79 age category, security emerges as a paramount concern, underlining the universal desire for trust in AI systems. The preference for human interaction remains robust, highlighting the comfort and empathy it provides. Although data privacy remains important, it shows a subtle decrease in emphasis compared to younger age groups.

  • Security: At this stage of life, 46% of respondents prioritised security more than any other concern, emphasising the universal need for trust in AI systems.
  • Prefer interacting with a human: The preference for human interaction remained strong, with another 46% opting for the familiarity and empathy that humans bring.
  • Data privacy: While still a concern, data privacy dipped slightly to 34%, suggesting a slightly lower emphasis on this aspect compared to the younger age groups.

The survey results: a deeper look

When it comes to online security, a domain where caution is of utmost importance, individuals aged 50 and above emerge as particularly vigilant. This age group recognises the significance of being watchful among Internet users, underscoring the crucial role of safeguarding their digital presence. Research made by Future Processing substantiated these worries, highlighting the significance of addressing this demographic’s unique apprehensions.

Based on the analysis above, data security, the desire for human interaction, and data privacy emerge as the top three recurring concerns across all age groups. These concerns become even more pronounced in the older generations, with the 70-79 age group standing out as the epicentre of apprehension. Yet, regardless of age, these statistics underscore the urgent need for organisations to prioritise data security and privacy when introducing AI initiatives.

Connecting older users with AI to bridge the generation gap

Is there a way to help the surveyed group overcome their fear of AI tools? By leveraging education and technology, we can bridge the digital divide and ensure a safe and secure online experience for this demographic. It can also help older users to take full advantage of the benefits of the digital world.

Future Processing’s Head of Security, Dominik Samociuk, PhD, says:

“We believe Future Processing’s educational mission will help equip groups of digitally excluded people with the knowledge they need to make more informed AI decisions. Artificial intelligence can be used for both good and bad purposes, so it is important to understand the potential consequences of its use. By educating people about AI, we can help them make the best decisions for themselves and the world.”
Dominik Samociuk
Head of Security

Understanding-AI – resources tailored for 50+ users

As a result of a survey of the 50+ community’s AI needs and concerns, our Future Processing team developed specific, practical solutions. We have launched a website Understanding-AI that is already getting a great deal of attention online. This page provides users over 50 with comprehensive information about artificial intelligence. For people over 50 who are looking for help with AI and new technologies, this website is intended to be a kind of first aid.

By illustrating how artificial intelligence is used in everyday life, this platform contributes to an understanding of the power of AI. Through the presentation of real-world AI examples, the 50+ generation might gain a deeper understanding of the capabilities of artificial intelligence. In addition to a helpful video tutorial on AI-powered search engines, the website also discusses privacy and security for using chatbots. The Understanding-AI website sparks curiosity and offers ideas for practical AI applications without exhaustive comparisons.

Future Processing’s educational drive for informed communities

As part of Future Processing’s mission to open up AI-related technologies to the 50+ generation, we do much more than just build a website. The company’s blog features a wide variety of topics and instructions related to new technologies. A constantly updated and expanded collection of topics offers an inexhaustible source of information about new technologies and the practical application of artificial intelligence.

The campaign creators encourage users to delve deeper into topics such as: “What is cyber resilience” “How to increase your online security,” “Crafting a cyber-secure home office,” “Mobile Security“, “Data Security,” and “GDPR and Data Processing.” These resources pave the way for a safer digital journey, promoting a harmonious coexistence between technology and security. 

Narrowing the digital divide: empowering older users with AI education

Addressing the surveyed group’s AI-related concerns involves bridging the digital divide through education and technology. Empowering older users with digital literacy is crucial, enabling them to fully engage with the digital world safely. This keeps them informed and connected and opens doors to solutions like telemedicine or online shopping. The “Understand AI” campaign, a Future Processing’ pro publico bono initiative, contributes to building a digitally inclusive society, ensuring everyone can navigate AI with confidence and benefit from its potential.

Join us in the third part of Sharon’s journey (coming soon!) as we explore how technology companies can make AI more accessible and secure for people like her. Together, we’ll bridge the generation gap and ensure that no one is left behind in the age of AI!

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