Workplace Imposter Syndrome: The Rise of Faking AI Knowledge

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to permeate various industries, a new trend is emerging: many workers are faking their knowledge of AI. According to a recent study by Canva, 26% of professionals admitted to exaggerating their AI expertise to keep up with their colleagues. In an era where staying relevant and competitive is paramount, the “fake it ’till you make it” method has become a coping mechanism for those fearing being left behind.

While the lack of genuine AI understanding is concerning, it highlights the significant role that AI plays in the modern workplace. With tremendous potential for productivity enhancement, cost reduction, and innovation, AI has become a buzzword that cannot be ignored. However, there remains a glaring need for education and training to bridge the knowledge gap.

Canva’s research also delved into the realm of generative AI, the technology underlying popular chatbots like ChatGPT and Google Bard. Surprisingly, only a fraction of those familiar with AI were acquainted with generative AI specifically. This discrepancy suggests a limited understanding of the intricacies and capabilities of this advanced AI application.

The study uncovered another aspect of the AI paradox: younger workers, often assumed to be more adept in technology, were not necessarily the most enthusiastic about generative AI. While 59% of millennials acknowledged its potential for personal growth, only 43% of Gen Z shared this sentiment. Additionally, a considerable number of Gen Z saw generative AI as a problem rather than a solution, unlike their millennial counterparts.

Curiously, more workers reported using AI tools for personal purposes (43%) compared to using them within their work (35%). This discrepancy suggests a genuine curiosity about AI technology, but a lack of opportunity for meaningful training in the workplace to fully harness its benefits.

Canva’s co-founder and CPO, Cameron Adams, emphasized the need to foster a culture of sharing AI experiences and learnings within teams. By promoting open dialogue and knowledge exchange, individuals can alleviate the fear of falling behind and uncover new AI applications and possibilities.


1. What is generative AI?

Generative AI refers to a subset of artificial intelligence that focuses on creating or generating new content. This can include text, images, music, or other forms of media, often through the use of deep learning models and neural networks.

2. Why are workers faking their AI knowledge?

With the rapid advancement of AI technology, workers feel the pressure to stay relevant and not be left behind. As a result, some individuals may exaggerate their AI expertise to match their colleagues’ knowledge or to appear more valuable in the workplace.

3. How can organizations address the lack of AI knowledge?

Organizations should prioritize AI education and training programs to ensure employees have the necessary skills and understanding of AI. Encouraging a culture of continuous learning and knowledge sharing can foster a more informed and AI-literate workforce.

4. What are the potential benefits of AI in the workplace?

AI can bring numerous benefits to the workplace, including increased efficiency and automation, improved decision-making through data analysis, personalized customer experiences, and the ability to tackle complex tasks quickly and accurately.

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