In a world of increased privacy invasions, personal information theft, questionable ethics from tech industry leaders, and a growing fear of AI-related workplace disruption, today’s technology companies are facing new reputational and regulatory challenges.
We are addressing this growing “Techlash” head on in a new global report that combines original research with insights from some of the world’s leading thinkers in this space – ‘From Darlings to Damaged? Managing the technology sector’s reputation in an age of heightened scrutiny’.
From a Canadian-perspective, here are just a few of the takeaways I found most interesting:
Consumers still trust technology companies
While media coverage tends to stress the tech sector’s shortcomings, much of the public still trusts its providers. A new survey from FleishmanHillard TRUE Global Intelligence shows that 8 out of 10 consumers embrace or like technology and use it when they can, while 82% of those questioned generally trust technology companies.
However, younger generations are more dubious. While Gen Z (90%) and Millennials (83%) take the lead in embracing and using technology, they exhibit a greater lack of trust in technology companies overall. Gen Z lead this skepticism (26%) with Millennials (22%) following shortly behind.
How the Canadian government is adapting to technological change
In the report, Canada’s CIO Alex Benay points out how governments around the world are struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of technology and the heightened consumer expectations that come with it. He mentions how a big part of his job is addressing how public servants work, redefining how the government works with industry to procure new technical solutions, and designing and delivering programs and services with user needs in mind right from the start.
“Digital government provides an opportunity for a cultural and operational shift that goes much further than technological transformation,” writes Benay.
Technology companies must be good corporate citizens
The report brings up some interesting questions, especially around how much government regulation and legislation tech companies should face. Is the so-called Techlash putting Canada at risk of slowing down innovation and falling behind, and what is the technology industry’s responsibility in being good corporate citizens?
Tim Race, former New York Times editor and Senior Vice President, FleishmanHillard, has a great answer to that last one, closing the report with this final thought:
“Maybe the media pendulum has now swung too far in the negative direction. The public needs to know about the downsides of technology, of course. But these days, when it seems the news media see no technology story worth telling unless there’s a villain, it’s up to technology companies to prove they can still be the hero.”
For more opinions and insights, download our new report here.