Three Key Insights from the Microsoft Personal Technology Poll

by / Thursday, 13 February 2014 / Published in Personal
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What does technology mean to you? How has it changed your life? The simple answer is that technology makes our lives easier and more convenient. The real truth may be far more complicated than that.

For years, commentators have tried to determine exactly what effect technology has on the lives of people who use it. Now, a new poll from Microsoft may help us better answer that question.

The poll data, which was released on January 23 as part of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, was prepared by surveying 10,000 Internet users from 10 different countries, including both developing and developed economies, across the globe. Microsoft’s report on the data, which the company bills as “Views from Around the Globe: How Personal Technology is Changing Our Lives,” provides a number of interesting insights about how consumers are affected by the technology they use every day.

Three Key Insights from the Microsoft Personal Technology Poll

  1. Citizens in developing economies look at technology as an important force in improving their quality of life
  2. Technology users are more likely to be happy with the state of the world than non-technology users
  3. Consumers feel that technology has a generally positive impact on the world—with a few exceptions

1. Citizens in developing economies look at technology as an important force in improving their quality of life

Some of the most encouraging results from the survey data came from developing economies, where poll respondents pointed to many specific ways that technology has improved their lives. In China, for example, where the government has gone to great lengths to control what its citizens can and can not see on the Internet, citizens were more likely to say that technology had a positive impact on their ability to enjoy personal freedoms than citizens from any other country surveyed.

The positive effects of technology are not limited to freedom, though: in India, survey participants frequently pointed out that technology had improved the overall quality of healthcare and education offered in their country, while Brazilians noted that technology had a positive impact on culture and the arts in their country. As political and social upheaval begins to take hold in countries across the world, it will be interesting to see what role technology can play in addressing these issues and improving quality of live throughout the world.

2. Technology users are more likely to be happy with the state of the world than non-technology users

One of the most interesting points to come up in the survey data was the fact that survey participants who classified themselves as frequent users of personal technology were more likely to be happy with the state of the world than those who did not. According to the Microsoft report, smartphone owners generally saw the world as a more “cooperative and harmonious” place than those who did not own smartphones.

According to the survey results, 51 percent of smartphone owners held the opinion that social values were improving, rather than getting worse. Those who didn’t own smartphones were not nearly so optimistic: only 33 percent of survey respondents from that group held the positive viewpoint.

What does it say that we could all live in the same world, yet have such a different view of it depending on whether or not we use technology? As the use of technology continues to grow, it will be interesting to see if this trend will continue.

3. Consumers feel that technology has a generally positive impact on the world—with a few exceptions

Overall, survey participants seemed to think that personal technology makes the world a better place, but that wasn’t the case for every single aspect of life that the survey looked at. For instance, survey participants were nearly unanimous in their opinion that technology had a positive impact on business, education, and economic development. However, most participants also pointed out that technology had a negative impact on personal privacy, and there was no consensus on whether or not technology improves personal safety and security.

Sources: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/smartphone-owners-are-happier-with-the-world-microsoft-poll-says/2014/01/24/c044ab5a-8508-11e3-bbe5-6a2a3141e3a9_story.html

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