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Is technology helping or hindering human development?

A new survey finds that while technology is improving business processes and re-ordering personal living, it may be wrecking interpersonal skills.

A new survey commissioned by cloud systems provider Axway finds that technology is rapidly re-ordering the work world and personal lives of humans – and not necessarily in good ways.

Conducted by international research firm Research+Data Insights (RDI), the online survey encompassed 2,653 adults in the U.S., France, the U.K., Australia and Germany. Respondents were a mix of male and female, ranging in age from 18 to 60 years old. The poll found that despite huge investments from organizations across almost every industry in technologies that transform business processes and enable new models for working, some 70% of the respondents said technology is having a much greater impact on their personal lives, with 75% of Millennials versus older generations (66%) stating that their personal lives have been impacted more by technology.

Yet despite most of those polled (91%) agreeing that technology has had a positive impact on our lives, whether in the personal or professional realm, the survey identified key concerns around its impact on “interpersonal skills.” The top concerns were:

  • 53% said that today’s level of interaction with technology is killing the art of good conversation, with women (56%) more likely than men (49%).
  • 40% said technology is making people more impatient.
  • 39% said that technology is reducing attention spans.

As organizations continue to invest in new technologies and look to accelerate the impact of technology in the professional world, Axway added that they need to carefully consider how new technologies can replicate human behavior such as artificial intelligence. Such new technologies present a concern for 85% of consumers, the firm noted, with the top concerns being:

  • 34% worry about machines invading their privacy.
  • 29% are concerned about machines taking over jobs.
  • 21%, or one in five consumers, are concerned about machines taking over the world.

Further, with the rise of crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, technology will play an increasingly larger role in the future of payments made by humans, Axway noted. Indeed, its poll found one in four consumers (23%) believe digital currency will most likely replace cash within the next 10-15 years.

Yet a lot of worry remains on the minds of many of those polled regarding data privacy. New technologies capture huge volumes of personal data that organizations use to develop, market and sell their products and services, said Axway, and 83% of respondents to its survey are concerned about how organizations use their personal data, while 53% do not like the idea of organizations having their personal information. Consumers in Australia (59%) and the U.S. (55%) are most concerned, while respondents in France (44%) are the least concerned, the firm noted

“In 2017, we saw technology continue to evolve at a rapid pace as innovations such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, block chain and augmented reality started to reach the mainstream,” noted Vince Padua, chief innovation and technology officer at Axway. “These technologies are quickly transforming the relationship between man and machine and are ultimately making our lives easier. However, this study reveals that the competitive pressure and digital disruption are increasing, and using the right technology is necessary to gain the upper hand. Looking ahead to 2018, results from this survey will help inform how organizations can leverage technology to provide faster innovation, expand their digital business ecosystems and obtain higher levels of customer experience.”

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