Amazingly, as we have watched the wonders of technology work its magic ever since we heard about power of Moore’s Law, we are now starting to see the dark side of the new digital economy. And surprisingly, it’s the youngest generation of adults who are exposing it – we’re talking about the 19 to 24 year olds, who are now referred to as “GenTech”.
Over the past decade or so, we have witnessed countless unethical practices in the tech world. It seems that every other day, we are hearing about the customer database of some big corporation getting hacked and all that personal data becomes victims are further crimes such as identity theft. Not only that, we saw where the Chinese government hacked into the United States Office of Personnel database giving them access to the personal data of tens of millions of Americans.
Quite frankly, the GenTech doesn’t trust authorities with their digital data. And why should anyone blame them?
Recent study findings indicate this generation is both frustrated and disillusioned with how irresponsibly that corporations and the government have handled sensitive information. They fully understand that data about their personal lives represent a dollar value to greedy organizations that are eager to push their goods and services on anyone. And they will stoop to any level – it seems – to procure such information.
This relatively new era of commercialization of personal data via real-time monitoring is now being called “surveillance capitalism” and represents a controversial new economic system.
No More Artificial intelligence
One of the cornerstones of this new digital economy is how we interact with artificial intelligence (AI) as well as other machine learning algorithms. Research has indicated that about 47% of the new GenTech generation wants no part of AI technology. And they certainly do not care to have AI systems monitoring anything about their lives – including purchases, preferences and lifestyle decisions.
As a matter of fact, only around 29% consider AI as a useful or positive experience at all. Instead, they would rather be left alone to manage their own lives and make their own decisions. And they wish to explore new services and goods freely without any AI input.
Leave My Data Out of It
Research also shows that 54% of GenTech are quite worried about how much access that organizations already have of their personal data, while just 19% are not concerned. This is in spite of the EU General Data Protection Regulation getting introducing in May of 2018. This generation still believes that there are many small groups of global organizations such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google who still have too much data.
Recently, both Google and Facebook promised to place top priority on how they interact with users. Both of these companies have been in a lot of how water for a perceived lack of transparency about how they gather and maintain user data.
In spite of these actions, GenTech is demanding to take back ownership of their personal information. They understand the value of this commodity, and feel that they should be able to trade that with organizations. About 50% would be content with sharing their data for something of value in return, such as a financial incentive.
Rewiring Digital Relationships
GenTech are seeking a transactional arrangement with these data gathering organizations. This is a very significant change in how data is exchanged presently. But companies are beginning to view this as a goodwill opportunity to empower customers and let them control their own data.
It is truly amazing how intuitive this young GenTech has become. They realize that there are consequences for giving up their privacy, and have started to push back, as they question those companies who keep using exploitative practices.
Anyone can understand the revolt from the GenTechies – their generation has a lot to lose. They are facing an entire life that will be tangled up in digital technology which will become a huge part of their professional and their private lives. And it is quite wise for them to make a move now while they still have leverage.