Microsoft unveiled the results of its new survey in advance of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The report, titled “Views from Around the Globe: 2nd Annual Poll on How Personal Technology Is Changing Our Lives,” encompasses the views of 12,002 Internet users in 12 countries.
This is the second year in a row that the company has commissioned the study. The poll was conducted between 17 December 2014, and 1 January, surveying internet users in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the US.
According to a study conducted by Microsoft, 60 percent of internet users residing in developing countries believe personal technology has had a positive impact on social bonds, compared to 36 percent in developed countries. Over half (59%) of people in developing countries think technology-enabled, sharing-economy services such as Uber and Airbnb, are better for consumers than traditional services, compared to 33 percent in developed countries. A large majority (85%) of those in developing countries say they are interested in working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, compared to 59 percent in developed countries. Notably, while 77 percent of women in developing countries feel encouraged to work in STEM fields, only 46 percent of women in developed countries do.
According to the survey, all 12 countries felt personal technology has had a positive impact on their ability to find more affordable products and start new businesses. They also said it benefits social activism, as well as innovation in business. A majority in nearly all of the countries thinks personal technology has improved productivity. Compared with last year’s results, more respondents said technology has had a positive impact on transportation and literacy, while fewer said it has benefited social bonds, personal freedom and political expression.
Concern about technology’s impact on privacy also jumped significantly. In 11 of the 12 countries, most internet users said technology’s effect on privacy was mostly negative. Majorities in every country but India and Indonesia also said current legal protections for users of 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.