Research Article (Preprint): “The Emerging AI Divide in the United States” – LJ INFOdocket

April 21, 2024 by Gary Price
The preprint linked below was recently share on arXiv.
The Emerging AI Divide in the United States
Scott Counts
Microsoft Research
via arXiv
DOI: 10.48550/arXiv.2404.11988
The digital divide describes disparities in access to and usage of digital tooling between social and economic groups. Emerging generative artificial intelligence tools, which strongly affect productivity, could magnify the impact of these divides. However, the affordability, multi-modality, and multilingual capabilities of these tools could also make them more accessible to diverse users in comparison with previous forms of digital tooling. In this study, we characterize spatial differences in U.S. residents’ knowledge of a new generative AI tool, ChatGPT, through an analysis of state- and county-level search query data. In the first six months after the tool’s release, we observe the highest rates of users searching for ChatGPT in West Coast states and persistently low rates of search in Appalachian and Gulf states. Counties with the highest rates of search are relatively more urbanized and have proportionally more educated, more economically advantaged, and more Asian residents in comparison with other counties or with the U.S. average. In multilevel models adjusting for socioeconomic and demographic factors as well as industry makeup, education is the strongest positive predictor of rates of search for generative AI tooling. Although generative AI technologies may be novel, early differences in uptake appear to be following familiar paths of digital marginalization.
Direct to Full Text
April 18, 2024
21 pages; PDF.
Filed under: Data Files, News, Patrons and Users, Productivity
Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at
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