Public trust in new technology falls

By Nicole Miskelly | 21 January 2015

Research shows the pace of change has been too fast for some British consumers, as their trust in new technologies developed by Britain’s flourishing tech sector fell last year.

According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer Survey for 2015, 49 per cent of UK consumers believe that innovation within businesses is happening too quickly and businesses are failing to reassure them that new innovations are safe to use.

Mobile payments, hydraulic fracturing and genetically modified foods were ranked the least-trusted technologies by British consumers and compared to acceptance of future technologies by consumers globally, the British seem to be a lot less trusting. 

“The pace of change has never been faster and innovation has become an even greater imperative for business success,” said Richard Edelman (Edelman president and chief executive). “Innovation should be a trust accelerator, but today it is not.”

Over the past year the trust has fallen from 79 per cent to 75 per cent in technology, 77 per cent to 70 per cent in consumer electronics and 62 per cent to 57 per cent in telecoms.

After a year that has faced a number of high-profile ups and downs, when London’s financial technology sector grew tremendously and tech companies gained billion-dollar valuations, this has often been overshadowed by high-profile cyber security breaches, concerns about data privacy and the environmental impact of technology.

The survey results show that compared to 69 per cent of consumers globally, only 42 per cent of UK consumers trust electronic and mobile payments and 53 per cent trust personal health trackers, compared to 59 per cent in other parts of the world.

“To invent is no longer enough. There must be a new compact between company and individual, where companies demonstrate that innovations are safe based on independent research, provide both societal and personal benefit and are transparent about the use of customer data,” said Edelman.

One area that nearly two-thirds of the 27 countries surveyed agreed upon was their distrust in government, business, media and non-governmental organisations, and according to the FT, research to be presented at the World Economic Forum this week shows that global public trust in institutions diminished in 2014 which has taken trust levels back to the lows seen during the 2009 financial crisis.

Edelman said that unimaginable events such as the Ebola crisis to the disappearance of a Malasyia Airliner, the forex scandal and Sony Pictures hacking have created a sense that things are out of control.


By Nicole Miskelly, bobsguide Lead Journalist

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