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Research: It’s Life Jim, But Not as We Know It!

Luke Reaper, managing director of B&A looks at some of the key  findings of its latest TechScape research on the technology habits of Irish consumers.

Every year, the B&A TechScape report tracks technology usage and attitudes in Ireland. Our report this year also includes behaviour around cryptocurrency dabbling, usage of and feelings toward AI (with focus on Chat GPT in particular), and the level of concern regarding how data is used by organisations.

Technology, by its very nature, has always been pushing boundaries, expanding its reach into our lives, so much so that we now cannot leave our homes without our smartphones.

At this stage, we are hugely reliant on technology to function as a human race, from entertainment right through to life administration (banking, communication, shopping, etc.). From the minute we wake up, we are immersed in a tech world. The dopamine hits we receive from our social media accounts are addictive. Technology will become ever more pervasive in our lives.

Some key insights from this year’s report include:

  • The move toward a ‘smart’ home continues (i.e. growth in Smart TVs, laptops, games consoles and smart hubs/assistants).
  • While the socio-economic tech divide still persists (i.e. tech equipment in the home), signs are evident that the regional divide is lessening.
  • However, 44% agree that technology is having a negative impact on family life in their home (e.g. people spending too much time on different devices, etc.), with 7 in 10 feel we have lost the art of conversation. In addition, 1 in 3 find it hard to switch off from thinking about work/school/college in their spare time in the evening/weekends.
  • Influencers are growing in importance (most important among Gen Z).
  • 81% of population now purchase online (increase of 6 percentage points on 2022).
  • Working from home continues to be an option for 1 in 4 – mainly middle class, Dubliners.

The latest developments in the AI space have both great potential for new services and advancement in areas such as health, etc., but also the potential to disrupt our society and lives. We simply do not fully understand the seemingly limitless power of AI and the possible impact on our day-to-day lives. With that said, it does seem that the public has been tuning into the warnings with 2 in 3 agreeing they are concerned about AI and feel it should be regulated.

The judiciary will need to play a vital role in AI moving forward. In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg had a simple idea to connect college students together on one platform. This developed into Facebook, marking the beginning of the Social Media era, with tech companies expanding their reach and influence into our lives. We didn’t realise Social Media’s power until it was too late. Surely, history cannot repeat itself with AI – we have been warned.

For the full report check out www.banda.ie

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