Personal Tech Still a Big Plus

Internet users still overwhelmingly think that personal technology makes the world better, according to Microsoft’s second annual survey of Internet users around the world.

Large majorities of the online populations in all five developed countries surveyed (France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the U.S.) and all seven developing countries surveyed (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa and Turkey) say that technology has vastly improved how they shop, work and learn.

Respondents continue to be most enthusiastic about technology’s effects on the economy and most concerned about privacy. The role of technology in transportation and literacy moved up, while technology’s ability to improve social bonds and enhance personal freedom and expression moved down. Concern about privacy jumped five points.

How technology will affect people in the future is creating some division between developing and developed countries. Developing countries express deep and genuine enthusiasm about the benefits of technology, whereas developed countries, where technology is more ubiquitous, express greater concerns about emerging issues, including its impact on social bonds, the media and facilitation of consumer-driven services.

Among the results:

  • Respondents in all the countries agree that social media has had a positive impact on social activism, with some concerns emerging especially in developed countries like France, the U.S. and Germany. Developing countries remain enthusiastic about technology opening up political expression, but their enthusiasm was more tempered this year.
  • In all 12 countries, respondents say personal technology has had a positive impact on their ability to find more affordable products. Even two out of three (65%) of respondents in the least enthusiastic country, China, believe this.
  • In each of the countries, respondents think personal technology has improved innovation in business, including more than three-quarters of people in developing countries. In Indonesia, Brazil and India, more than 80% of Internet users think this.
  • Respondents in all countries say personal technology has had a positive impact on the ability to start new businesses, with Indonesia and Brazil leading the way.
  • Most respondents in nearly every country think technology has improved productivity, with on average more than seven in ten saying so in developing countries.