Tech: Is This The End Of The World As We Know It?

Ardziv Simonian

The role of IT and technology in the modern world has become ingrained in society. Almost Cyberdyne Systems by Gisela Giardino/ CCBY (must indicate if changes are made)everyone carries a mobile phone, most of us have access to the Internet, and the overall structure of our world seems to depend largely on a bunch of circuits and switches.

So considering the impact of the technology industry on our lives, who better to ask about what will happen next than IT and tech professionals?

IT recruitment company CW Jobs conducted a survey with YouGov to find out what IT and tech workers think about whether their industry will have a positive or negative affect on our future.

What does the future hold for us and technology?

While the majority remained neutral on the question of whether tech would more likely save or destroy the world, more tech professionals responded positively.

  • A quarter of the 517 professionals surveyed believe that IT & tech will save the Earth, with health and medical advancements coming in as the top reason (80%).
  • When asked for details, respondents cited medical predictions from bionic enhancement to early disease detection and simulation of diseases.
  • A full 74% of IT workers believe their industry will help solve environmental problems, i.e., finding ways to combat climate change.
  • Two-thirds of respondents see artificial intelligence playing a role in protecting humanity.
  • Sixty percent have high hopes for space.

The surprise came from positive views on AI, which, considering pop culture’s infatuation with AI wiping out the human race, actually shows some confidence in the positive impact of Artificial Intelligence.

Could we be in danger?

Of the 13% of professionals who believe that IT and tech is more likely to destroy the world than save it, AI also ranked third most-chosen reason, with 44% citing it a likely culprit. Further conflict on this topic came from the final question, which asked whether IT and tech industry professionals believe a “Terminator”-style Judgement Day rooting from an evil AI system like Skynet is a possible future scenario. A surprising 27% of total respondents agreed that Skynet technology could lead to a possible world-ending scenario, despite only 13% believing that tech will destroy the world and 44% blaming AI. But don’t worry – more than half of respondents disagreed with this doomsday scenario!

What’s the biggest ‘world-ending’ concern?

From the 13% of pessimists, the biggest concern (ranking above even military and warfare) seems to be the prevention of evolution (74%). There appears to be a notable discomfort in the industry regarding the effects of technological advances on the evolution of the human species.

Comments highlighted a general concern for future generations, especially around engagement, interaction, social skills, and the ability to learn, absorb, and retain information. One respondent even commented that the future of IT and tech will “turn humans into zombies only capable of staring at screens.”

See the full IT & Tech Futures poll here.

Image: Cyberdyne Systems by Gisela Giardino/ CCBY