A global survey towards high-tech attitudes finds that while the younger generation believes technology is having a dehumanizing effect, older women, particularly those in emerging countries, are becoming its biggest champions.
The Intel-commissioned "Intel Innovation Barometer" survey of 12,000 adults from Brazil, China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and the United States finds that while millennials (i.e., those aged 18-24) haven't completely given up on technology and believe that it holds the key to one day solving a number of global issues, 61% believe that it is currently making people less human. Despite being the digital native generation, 59% of young adults also feel that society has become too reliant on technology.
"At first glance it seems millennials are rejecting technology, but I suspect the reality is more complicated and interesting," said Dr. Genevieve Bell, anthropologist and director of Interaction and Experience Research at Intel Labs. "A different way to read this might be that millennials want technology to do more for them, and we have work to do to make it much more personal and less burdensome."
Indeed, over one-third of the younger generation (36%) want technology to become more intuitive and contextually aware so that systems, services and devices learn about users and anticipate their needs over time.
This would also explain why millennials are the most willing age group when it comes to anonymously sharing personal information and data because it will improve user experience. But as well as disappointment with the current state of tech, the younger generation is overwhelmingly positive about the role it could play in the future and have great hope that innovations will positively impact education (57%), transportation (52%) and healthcare (49%).
The current enthusiasm that the younger generation lacks is more than made up for by that of older women. Globally, women over 45 years of age are slightly more likely than younger women to say that people don't use enough technology. They also are more likely to say that technology makes people more human, helping to deepen their relationships.
This positive attitude peaks in emerging markets. For example, in China, 70% of women over 45 believe we aren't using technology enough, while across China, Brazil, India and Indonesia women of all ages believe innovations will drive better education (66%), transportation (58%), work (57%) and healthcare (56%). Women in emerging markets would also be more willing to sacrifice some privacy in return for better tech services -- 86% would be willing to install software that tracks their work habits and 77% would be happy to use a smart toilet if it monitored health.
"Women historically have become avid users of technology when that technology solves a problem, helps us organize our lives and that of our families as well as aids us in saving time and time shifting," added Bell. "I have to wonder whether this data is showing that women are optimistic because they see technology innovation that is starting to deliver on the promise of better fitting into the rhythms of our days, helping with our specific concerns and needs, and creating new compelling experiences that women and men alike will find valuable."
But as well as along gender lines, the willingness to share data is more pronounced in high-income households -- 81% of high-income individuals would be prepared to anonymously share lab results and other medical information if it would further scientific research into illnesses. Only 66% of those on low incomes (and 71% of mid-income respondents) are prepared to do the same. However, when asked if they would be prepared to share this information in return for low-cost medication, the figure for low-income respondents jumps to 80%.