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January 19, 2015updated 23 Aug 2016 9:05am

Technology making the world a better place

Internet survey shows majority believe personal technology is making the world a better place.

By James Nunns

A recent study has highlighted how developing countries express widespread enthusiasm about the benefits of technology – including its impact on social bonds, the sharing economy and personal fitness – while developed countries, where technology is more ubiquitous, express concerns about emerging issues.

The study, conducted by Microsoft, encompasses the views of 12,002 internet users in 12 countries. The survey highlights notable differences in attitudes toward personal technology between developed and developing economies.

Mark Penn, Microsoft executive vice president and chief strategy officer said: "Internet users overwhelmingly say that personal technology is making the world better and more vital."

"But there is a digital divergence in the attitudes of Internet users in developing and developed countries regarding how technology will affect them going forward."

The survey reveals that the majority in nearly all countries polled think that personal technology has improved productivity and has had a positive impact on transportation and literacy. However, fewer said that it has benefited social bonds, personal freedom and political expression.

In 11 of the 12 countries surveyed, there was a significant jump in concerns about technology’s impact on privacy. Most Internet users said technology’s effect on privacy was mostly negative.

In all but India and Indonesia, majorities said that current legal protections for users or personal technology were insufficient, and only in those two countries did most people feel fully aware of the types of personal information collected about them.

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Additional information from the study reveals that 60% of Internet users in developing countries, compared with only 36% of people in developed countries, think personal technology has had a positive impact on social bonds.

59% of people in developing countries think that technology-enabled, sharing-economy services, such as Uber and AIrbnb are better for consumers than traditional services. By contrast, only 33% of people in developed countries think the new services are better for consumers.

Only 59% of people in developed countries, compared with 85% in developing countries, say they are interested in working in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM fields). Notably 77% of women in developing countries feel encouraged to work in the STEM field, while only 46% of women in developed countries do.

The poll surveyed people in; Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the U.S.

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