Millennials Say Life Is Easier With Technology, But Makes Us Less Human
October 17, 2013

Millennials Say Life Is Easier With Technology, But Makes Us Less Human

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Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

A new study has found young adults, especially millennials who grew up with smartphones, iPads and other digital gizmos and gadgets, are increasingly tech savvy; but many who fall into this category also think technology is making people less human in the process.

The study was commissioned by Intel Corporation and conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, and it looked at global attitudes toward technology innovation challenges and existing perceptions. The research found millennials (aged 18 to 24) are the least enthusiastic about technology today but yet are actually optimistic for future technology, especially those that could deliver a more personalized experience.

In other words, millennials may be taking much of the technology they grew up with for granted, but are still somewhat excited by tomorrow’s advances.

The “Intel Innovation Barometer” further revealed the millennials globally show a stark contrast to their reputation as digital natives who can’t get enough of the high-tech stuff in their lives. In fact, the study noted a majority of millennials even agree that technology makes people less human.

The younger set was even found to agree that there is too much reliance on technology today.

“At first glance it seems millennials are rejecting technology, but I suspect the reality is more complicated and interesting,” Dr. Genevieve Bell, anthropologist and director of Interaction and Experience Research at Intel Labs, said in a statement. “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.”

Of those surveyed, 86 percent said technology innovation could make life simpler, and more than one-third noted technology should know them by learning about their behavior and preferences.

The survey was conducted in Brazil, China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and the United States from July 28 to August 15, and reportedly has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.89 percentage points.

The study found the Italians and Japanese held the most negative views towards technology, while in China more than 70 percent of women said technology is not useful enough. Women age 45 and older, as well as those living in emerging markets, such as Brazil and India, are also the most optimistic about the impact that technology may have on their lives.

“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.”

Nearly 90 percent of young adults from across the world agreed technological innovations help make life easier, but about 60 percent said people do rely too much on it, and this could lead to the dehumanizing nature of technology. Moreover, 70 percent offered the opinion that technology could enhance one’s personal relationship and around half said that they believe it will have a positive impact on education, transportation and healthcare.

“The need for us to show personal meaning and relevance has never been more important for the technology industry,” Bell said. “Listening to what people really want and creating technologies that adapt to a wide variety of personal experiences is the future of technology.”