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Do Americans Fear the Future?

Do Americans Fear the Future?

What will technology look like in 20 years?Receiving an award for doing something great is par for the course, right? Well, what about awards for the not-so-great or for the downright awful?

From customer service to Hollywood, public pats on the back for negative achievements do indeed exist.

Those in the technology and innovation spaces are getting in on awards season too but sadly, these winners aren’t likely to be breaking open the bubbly anytime soon. The inaugural Luddite Awards—hosted by a DC-based think tank—recently handed out awards to Arizona, Michigan, New Jersey and Texas for being the leaders of stifling innovation. Ouch.

Now this unique award led us to ponder a few more questions (surprise surprise) on our end. Think tank aside, how do the rest of us feel about the state of innovation currently? Do Americans feel comfortable with all of the bright, shiny, and new that the future holds? Does technology scare or intrigue us? And does anyone really know what the heck a Luddite is anyway?

Using SurveyMonkey Audience—a powerful online tool aimed at collecting data from specific demographics—we surveyed more than 300 people to get their thoughts on technology and more. Here’s what we found.

Let’s get the whole weird word thing out of the way first, shall we?

How familiar are you with the term Luddite?

Nearly half had never heard of a Luddite but hey, that’s ok. No judgment, people. We learn something new every day! For the record, a Luddite describes a person who’s opposed to new technologies.

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The states that won the first ever Luddite Awards achieved this dubious distinction for banning the sale of Teslas—the famed innovator, Elon Musk’s electric car line, which have captured the imaginations of environmentalists and the wallets of a growing number of consumers.

How willing are you to learn a new piece of tech?

65% of our respondents reported being extremely to very willing to learn something new when it comes to tech. Great data news of course when it comes to all of those innovators, inventors and creators out there. Learning new things and heading into unfamiliar territory can be a challenge but the first step is to jump in head first and avoid letting fear be a factor.

Which leads right into to our next question.

How intimidated are you by a new piece of tech?Now don’t be intimidated by all the bars and percentages. We wanted to break down the responses to this question by age since we had a hunch that even more interesting pieces of data could be pulled out from that. Using a Compare rule, we learned that our hunch proved to be pretty wrong.

Those ages 60+ said that new technology isn’t really anything to be intimidated by (38%) and a mere 8% reported feeling “very intimidated.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, teens to those in their late 20s aren’t daunted by the new at a combined 77%.

And what about the somewhat harder-to-define field of innovation? Its scope is wide and we asked our question because we wanted to see if people believe that innovation can be taught like any other skill.

Can innovation be taught?

Nearly three-quarters of Americans believe that yes, indeed it can. This is encouraging news for all you educators out there and of course for those of you with the big, bold ideas. We also learned that a whopping 90% of people are underwhelmed by splashy tech announcements like Apple Keynotes (anyone planning to line up for an Apple Watch?) or news of the latest innovation in TV technology.

For even more opinions on the future of tech, take a look at the full set of survey results over at our Slideshare page.

How do you feel about the future of technology? Let us know in the Comments below!

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