Public attitudes to technology and its impact on the future

In partnership with Demos, Opinium conducted research amongst 2,003 British adults to reveal key insights on their views on technology and its impact on the future.

 

A threat or opportunity?

Generally, UK adults are positive about the benefits that technology can provide to our society. Half (50%) of UK adults are optimistic about technology, viewing it as more of an opportunity than threat to our economy and society. However, one in ten (10%) perceive technology to be more of a threat.

In terms of threats to jobs, only a third (35%) think that their current job is at risk from future developments in artificial intelligence and automation, although this rises to half (49%) of Londoners.

Despite many perceiving technology as an opportunity, many are also concerned about the negative consequences of technology. The majority are concerned about cyber crime (86%), online abuse (70%), extremist groups using digital platforms (89%) and fake news online (67%).

 

The management of technological challenges

The public largely feel that politicians are not taking sufficient action to address the challenges and risks of the next wave of technological change (69%). They also feel that technology companies are failing to handle the challenges, with three in four (76%) saying that they do not think  technology companies are devoting sufficient resources to remove extremist content from their platforms.

 

Trust with handling personal data

Further to this, UK adults do not feel comfortable with sharing their personal information with social media companies. 60% are comfortable sharing personal information with government departments/organisations while only 11% are comfortable with sharing this information with social media organisations.

 

Sacrifices to improve policing of online content

Perhaps surprisingly, UK adults are willing to put up with personal inconveniences if this would lead to better policing of online content. 90% of UK adults who think technology companies have a responsibility to police their content, are willing to wait 3 minutes on average to send or post a message if it meant that these technology companies were better able to police online content.

 

You can read more about this research at Demos.