Research carried out for Tech Week 2019 indicates that the majority of people believe that elections and social policy can be manipulated through misinformation on social media. While only 38% of those questioned have noticed any significant changes since the new GDPR laws were enacted last year.
From what I see and read every day I think it is there is much more than just fake news and with GDPR,that alone has become a both a help and a hindrance an another topic that should be discussed at length.
Tech Week 2019, Ireland’s national festival of technology aimed at students, parents and the public, takes place nationwide this week (11 – 18 May). Organised by the ICS Foundation, the social enterprise arm of the Irish Computer Society, Tech Week, is supported by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Science Foundation Ireland.
The survey was completed in April among 1,000 adults by Coyne Research for the Irish Computer Society. It asked people for their opinions on how technology has and will impact on various aspects of their lives including elections, education, employment and travel.
- 9 in 10 people feel that misinformation via social media can manipulate elections and social policies. This feeling is highest amongst Baby Boomers with 94% agreeing with this statement.
- Only 38% of those questioned noticed any significant changes since the new GDPR laws were enacted last year. Circa 2 in 5 people have noticed significant changes since GDPR was enacted last year. This is highest amongst Gen Z/ Millennials.
- Two thirds of the population believe that education benefits from the use of tablets, as opposed to printed books.
- Almost universal agreement that technological advances in the next decade will have a substantial impact on the job market.
- Only 2 in 5 people are excited by the prospect of Artificial Intelligence becoming a bigger part of every-day life.
- Only 2 in 5 adults believe that space travel will be a possibility available within the next ten years. Gen X are the most optimistic with nearly 1 in 2 believing in this possibility.
Jim Friars, CEO of the Irish Computer Society said: “There is no doubt that, over the years, technology has been responsible for creating amazingly useful resources which put the world’s information at our fingertips. The internet has been growing at a staggering pace over the last two decades and the impact of digital media has been without precedence.
As more and more people spend a significant proportion of their everyday lives online, social media has become a more powerful force to assist and influence the spread of ideas and messages. Without doubt, social media has changed the nature of political campaigning and will continue to play a key role in future elections around the world.
However, as our research indicates, there is a considerable concern across all age groups regarding the role that social media plays in promoting misperceptions and misinformation. In this new hyper-connected age, fake news and online disinformation have become more-and-more prevalent.
Digital literacy is therefore an imperative, and it is something that we must continue to develop and improve. Young students need to be taught how the internet works and how to use it properly to their advantage. They should know the basics about navigating the internet and also about evaluating the information they find online. It is about understanding technology and using it appropriately.
As our survey indicates, technology touches every aspect of life with many believing further advances such as AI will become an even bigger part of everyday life, impacting education and employment prospects. The sky is the limit, with many believing space travel will become the new normal in next number of years.
It is therefore vitally important that young people today understand how digital technologies are made and have the power to then make their own. We need to encourage the next generation of young people to create and not just consume technology. Tech Week 2019 is a fantastic way for students all over Ireland to engage with technology, learn about STEM related studies and make informed decisions as a result.”
Tech Week 2019 takes place all over Ireland from 11th -18th May and will see more than 100,000 students take part in a range of fun activities including the finals of national STEM competitions such as the Scratch Coding final in Limerick and the Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge in Maynooth.