TAKING STOCK OF THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION
In our iLife Prosumer study, more than 12,000 men and women in 32 countries were surveyed about their perceptions and uses of new technologies. The overall results showed that just about everyone today is dependent on digital technology. Indeed, 89% of respondents said they owned a smartphone (95% of Prosumers*), and 6 people out of 10 claimed they kept it close at hand even while it was charging. So, in this age of “digital maturity”, what fears and expectations do we still have regarding modern technology? If technology can really do everything for us, what additional safeguards would we like to see added, or removed? Here are the study’s key findings
· Division is the life blood of social media. Online communities have become echo chambers that mirror and validate our ideas, our political beliefs, our personalities and our way of seeing the world. And yet half of the people surveyed said they realize that social media limits our ability to think critically.
· For 1 Millennial in 5, the virtual world has become more appealing than reality itself. Most of us already live in two different worlds: the real life we experience on planet Earth, and the virtual life we’ve created for ourselves online. And these two worlds find themselves increasingly at odds. Sure enough, over a quarter of Millennials say they are sad or depressed about their own lives as compared to the idealized ones they see online. And 1 in 5 also say that they prefer their online persona to who they are in real life.
· The lines between our private lives and our lives as consumers are blurring. Modern technology already enables third parties to know when our fridges need restocking, and soon these same technologies will be used to keep tabs on our homes and possessions. So, our private lives and personal safety may well become a new form of currency, redeemable for a bit of extra utility and comfort. Two thirds of respondents said they believe that it will soon become impossible to secure personal data.
· Humans 2.0 will likely become increasingly dumber. We have a troubled relationship with artificial intelligence: we look forwards to the benefits of the intelligent home, but yet are terrified by the possible “rise of the machines”. More worryingly, there was a general consensus among the respondents that people will likely grow lazier and lazier, and less able to cope with everyday problems on our own.
In summary, new technologies can both boost and reduce our free time, build and destroy our communities, secure our transactions and violate our privacy. So the challenge for all communicators going forward will be to inspire enthusiasm and trust in equal measure.
→ To learn more, download the iLife Prosumer study.
* What are Prosumers? They’re the key influencers and driving elements of the market, who Havas Worldwide and BETC have been studying for over 10 years. Besides their direct economic impact, prosumers play a critical role in the market because they affect the choices