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Living in a Datafied World: Experiences & Attitudes of Young Europeans

As part of this project, the Weizenbaum Institute and the Goethe-Institut conducted a joint study to investigate the opinions of young people in Europe towards the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

How do young Europeans perceive an increasingly data-driven world? In a joint study, the Weizenbaum Institute and the Goethe-Institut examined the attitudes and perceptions of young Europeans towards the use of artificial intelligence (AI). 3,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 in Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Poland and Sweden were surveyed in the beginning of 2021.

The findings show that young Europeans are aware of the imminent change brought about by emergent technology but are still divided on how to evaluate these developments.
Crucially, findings indicate that young people lack knowledge in regards to the ongoing datafication of everyday life (the key precondition for the application of AI systems). Without sufficient knowledge, young peoples’ ability to critically assess the consequences of socio-technological changes is at stake.

Furthermore, findings highlight a lack of trust in institutions across European countries, as only a minority of respondents believe the institutions entrusted to represent them are committed to using AI in the best interest of people like them.

Generally speaking, we found that Europe’s youth share many similar attitudes towards AI and that country-specific deviations occurred less frequently than initially assumed. However, findings also reveal fault lines related to education.

The report closes with recommendations for educators and policy makers.

About the study

This study is part of the “Generation A=Algorithmus” project, led by Dr. Jeannette Neustadt.
The survey was co-led by Emilija Gagrčin, Nadja Schaetz, and Niklas Rakowski under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Martin Emmer.

Topics Covered

  • Young Europeans’ Relationship with AI
  • Education and AI
  • Labour and AI
  • Datafication
  • Platforms and Algorithms
  • Governing Data and Democratic Citizenship

Further details


The authors of the study are: Emilija Gagrčin, Nadja Schaetz, Niklas Rakowski, Roland Toth, Dr. André Renz, Dr. Gergana Vladova und Prof. Dr. Martin Emmer. For further questions please contact Emilija Gagrčin.