Global Trends 2020

Will technology kill us all?

“Most of the threats we face come from the progress we’ve made in science and technology. We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we must recognise the dangers and control them. I’m an optimist, and I believe we can.” – Stephen Hawking, 2016

Today, half of global citizens fear that technological progress is destroying our lives. Can this be blamed on lack of awareness, a fear of unknown? Perhaps, in established markets concern is certainly lower at 45%, compared to 58% in the emerging markets.

But there is something bigger at play and that is the increasing concern amongst the younger generations, those that have experienced the most exposure to technology and all that it entails. In 2014, 37% of Generation Z respondents globally were concerned that technological progress was destructive. However, just three years later, that has jumped 13 percentage points to 50%, compared to an increase of seven percentage points for Baby Boomers, nine percentage points in Generation X and 11 percentage points for Millennials.

With heightened awareness of cyber-bullying, online shaming and revenge porn, it appears the younger generation are well aware of, perhaps having witnessed it first-hand, the destructive power of technology.

Hannah Millard
Head of Media Relations | @IpsosMORI

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