Tech is Impacting our Human Values, study reports


Global technology company, Lenovo says that technology has the power to influence our values, make us more understanding, tolerant, charitable and open-minded – this according to its latest survey.

The survey polled more than 15,000 people from the US, Mexico, Brazil, China, India, Japan, UK, Germany, France and Italy and revealed that nine out of ten respondents (89 per cent) think that technology plays a large role in their day-to-day lives. Meanwhile, 84 per cent said that technology improves their lives.

And although we know technology impacts our lives is by helping us achieve our daily tasks – such as emails, streaming and so on – the research has found that in many cases, technology is actually having a strong impact on our human values.

Lenovo says that technology has the power to influence our values, make us more understanding, tolerant, charitable and open-minded

For example, 38 percent of global respondents believe smart devices such as PCs, tablets, smartphones and VR are making people more open-minded and tolerant. Meanwhile, over a third (35 percent) believe technology is making us more understanding and empathetic.

“In many ways, society is becoming more polarized as many of us are surrounded by those who share similar views and opinions. This can reinforce both rightly and wrongly held views and lead to living in somewhat of an echo chamber. We believe smarter technology has the power to intelligently transform people’s world view, putting them in the shoes of others and allowing them to experience life through their eyes – leading to a greater understanding of the world and the human experience,” says Dilip Bhatia, Vice President of User and Customer Experience at Lenovo.

“This could be through using smart technology to connect people from diverse backgrounds or allowing you to literally see their world in VR. The more open we are to diversity in the world around us, the more empathetic we can be as human beings – and that is a good thing.”

It is likely that the rise of social media and video sharing platforms are key to this, allowing people to connect with those from other countries and cultures, gaining an insight into their lives through social posts, video and other content.

Respondents to the survey believe emerging technologies could have an even more significant impact on our values in the future. Indeed, two-thirds (66 percent) say that VR has the potential to cultivate empathy and understanding, and help people be more emotionally connected with people across the globe by allowing them to see the world through their eyes.

The global nature of this survey has meant that interesting differences can be found around the world. In particular, Brazil, Russia, India and China appear to have the most faith in the ability of technology to positively impact our values. For example, 90 per cent of respondents in China think VR has the ability to increase human understanding, whilst that figure is 88 per cent in India and 81 per cent in Brazil.

“Technology is often blamed for eroding empathy, the innate ability most humans are born with to identify and understand each other’s emotions and experiences. However, when we harness technological advances for positive purposes, it can help promote richer experiences that develop empathetic concern and leverage people into action on causes that matter to them,” says Psychologist, Jocelyn Brewer.

“Developing the ability to imagine and connect with the experiences and perspectives of a broad range of diverse people can help build mental wealth and foster deeper, more meaningful relationships. Technology can be used to supplement our connections, not necessarily serve as the basis of them.”

Edited by Jenna Cook

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