What If The Media And Politicians Tried To Hold A Techlash... And No One Joined Them

from the oh,-look-at-that dept

There's been plenty of talk lately about the "Techlash" which has become a popular term among the media and politicians. However, what if the general public feels quite differently? Vox, which is not exactly known for carrying water for the tech industry, has released a new poll that shows that the public is overwhelmingly optimistic about technology, and thinks that technology has been a force for good in the world. This applies across the board for Democrats, Republicans, and independents.

Seventy-one percent of likely voters agreed with the tech-optimist statement: “Technology is generally a force for good. Large tech companies have provided innovations like vaccines, electric vehicles, bringing down the cost of batteries that store green energy, vegetarian meat options, and other ways that have improved our quality of life.” Only 19 percent agreed with the tech-pessimist statement: “Technology is generally a force for bad. Large tech companies are bad for workers, inequality, and democracy. The technological innovations they produce are not worth the cost.”

When put into chart form, the results are really, really striking:

Obviously, "technology" covers a lot more than the big internet companies -- and the messaging that Vox tested highlights mostly non-internet innovations. But, still. The fact that the "control" group -- ones who didn't even receive the specific messaging -- felt even stronger about the good technology does in the world than those who were first primed with statements about other kinds of technology is really something.

There are plenty of examples, certainly, of tech gone awry, but it really seems that the general public recognizes all of the good that innovation and technology have done for the world, and feel optimistic about it. Of course, none of that will stop "the narrative" of the techlash, because it's just too useful for many pushing it.

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Filed Under: big tech, polls, surveys, tech optimism, techlash


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2021 @ 12:21pm

    I'm going to be gutsy and assert that technology is more or less a direct outpouring of humanities application of (and belief in) rational/critical thinking to the world around them.

    I'm also going to suggest that to believe one is a negative force implicates the other. That is, asserting technology in general (not it's specific applications) is bad, is also to suggest that rational thinking is not good either (although since that argument is the product of critical thinking, I guess if you don't believe in it in the first place, then the whole argument holds no weight).

    I will note that technology is frequently abused (but so are guns, and human genitals, and brains. However that doesn't make any of those things bad).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2021 @ 12:46pm

      Just to be clear on this...

      You don't think guns are technology???

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2021 @ 12:56pm

        Re: Just to be clear on this...

        In the sense that I don't think guns are equivalent to technology, no I don't.

        But, yes, guns are a poor example since they are a subset of technology. However I was writing a list of things that I believe it would be hard to frame arguments for them not actually being abused.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2021 @ 12:52pm

    Considering the dictionary definition of technology is literally the practical application of human knowledge, I find it concerning that anyone could call technology in general bad without being presented with a loaded question.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rocky, 5 May 2021 @ 1:08pm

    Technology can't be bad or "evil", but those using it may be. It's exactly the same with information, it's just facts but how you choose to use them may be bad or "evil".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 6 May 2021 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      If I make a bomb, is it good or evil?
      A Q: in an RV mag about Which Chemicals to use to Clean the RV.
      A: (from the Mag) Use anything you want.
      My comment to the Mag in email. Ya, go ahead mix chemicals, and watch that settling tank Gas up and kill you in the night. Dont mix Chlorine with anything.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rocky, 6 May 2021 @ 11:20am

        Re: Re:

        If I make a bomb, is it good or evil?

        It's neither, it's the one who uses it who is good or evil depending how he or she uses it. It's like asking, is a rock good or evil.

        My comment to the Mag in email. Ya, go ahead mix chemicals, and watch that settling tank Gas up and kill you in the night. Dont mix Chlorine with anything.

        Stupidity isn't good or evil. Using chemicals without taking precautions and reading the warning label is like eating snow while disregarding its yellowy color and "funny" taste.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2021 @ 12:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Personally I call stupidity evil as it unconditionally leads to bad options. I can use a bomb to clear a bolder which fell across a road, demolish an unsafe building, and similiar. Stupidity actively resists being useful for anything while causing harm.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Rocky, 6 May 2021 @ 1:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Personally I call stupidity evil as it unconditionally leads to bad options.

            You do realize there are times when stupidity actually have good outcomes, and many times it's a learning experience. For example, the modern pacemaker came about because Greatbatch made a stupid mistake.

            Stupidity in itself isn't good or evil, and the outcomes are never evil, just ranging from very bad to very good. Evil requires intent, and here I place willful stupidity which means there's a person involved making a conscious decision.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              ECA (profile), 7 May 2021 @ 8:55pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Do you get the idea that as I leave it in the back yard,
              THat my neighbor kid will venture in the yard and think...

              'OOOOoooo what is that? what is all these buttons, PUSH THE BUTTONS...

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 May 2021 @ 1:24pm

    Polls mean nothing...
    There are still people claiming that Trump was the best President ever while ignoring 500K dead.

    Tech is just a handy whipping boy to distract us from stringing our elected leaders up for allowing the toddler in chief to murder citizens for the sake of his ego.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2021 @ 3:12pm

    But wait, I thought that the internet was only facebook, and everybody hates facebook.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    harry (profile), 6 May 2021 @ 4:51am

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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 6 May 2021 @ 6:19am

    Dear Senator

    Dear Senator:

    I was shocked and appalled to discover that sites such at Twitter and Facebook can block certain speech. They may even ban an account for merely exercising free speech. Such as medical misinformation. I therefore urge you to immediately introduce new legislation to prevent sites such as Twitter and Facebook from blocking any speech of any kind whatsoever. In the interest of free speech! Anything that can be stated in UTF-8 should be fair game to be posted for all to enjoy. In the interest of free speech!

    I was also shocked and appalled to discover that sites such as Parler, Frank and Conservapedia are not being allowed to block certain speech. They should be allowed to ban an account for merely exercising free speach. Such as making inconvenient statements of fact, liberal ideas, or taking Our Lord's name in vein. I therefore urge you to immediately introduce new legislation to allow sites such as Parler and Frank to block speech and cancel accounts of people who desecrate they're sacred pages or take our Lord's name in vane. In the goodest interest of free speech!

    I don't usually ask you to introduce two new laws in the same letter. So thank you for your patients and consideration in this matter.

    Sincerely,

    Your constituent

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 6 May 2021 @ 10:07am

      Re: Dear Senator

      Then change the laws, so that ANYTHING posted must stay.
      Every site would love you, they can fire 100's of monitors looking for Specific comments and IP material.
      Do it. Please. we can have 1000 page Spam and Movies posted on every site. And no one can take them to court.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 6 May 2021 @ 2:53pm

        Re: Re: Dear Senator

        Or, change the laws so that platforms can decide what they are willing to host and what they are not willing to host.

        If you want to say something so bad that nobody will host it, you can always build your own platform. That's the beauty of the internet. All you need is a connection to get started.

        Oh, don't want to build your own platform? But you want other people to build it for you, and let you do anything you want on their property?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          ECA (profile), 7 May 2021 @ 8:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: Dear Senator

          SEEEE!!!!!
          HE KNOWS WHAT TO DO IF OU CANT BE HEARD.(cant do . more then 2 times)
          HE UNDERSTANDS.!!!

          CAN YOU NOT SEE THE WISDOM?? CEATE YOU OWN SITE, DONT BLOCK ANYTHING.

          SEE HOW THEY RUN, RUN SPOT SUN, SEE HOW THE RIAA/MPAA RUN AFTER YOU. RUN SPOT RUN. YOU DONT MONITOR ANYTHING, RUN SPOT RUN. THEY ARE CHASING YOU, RUN SPOT,GOTO CANADA, RUN SPOT.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 6 May 2021 @ 9:57am

    Anyone got a 10' poll?

    Wow,
    What a selection of answers.
    Force for good, I dont know, Force for Bad.
    This is a total positive/negative/I dont care, Answer.
    Is the sky red or yellow or I dont care?

    At least grade it 1-10.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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