People – especially younger generations – are increasingly looking to science and technology to help create a better future
When asked directly whether they believe that science and technology can help create a better future, people across 25 countries surveyed almost universally agree that this is the case. However, young people are markedly more optimistic than older generations. Around half of those aged 18–24 (Gen Z) strongly agree with this notion, suggesting that the focus on science-based solutions will continue to grow in the future.
GlobeScan’s research shows that trust in scientific and academic institutions to operate in the best interest of society has increased over the past three years, while at the same time people have become less trusting of institutions such as government, business, and media. While people in North America and Europe are increasingly distrustful of these institutions, trust in scientific and academic institutions remains high in all countries surveyed.
The trend of rising trust in scientific institutions, combined with the decrease in trust in governments and business, suggests that people are increasingly placing their faith in science and technology—in objective observers, rather than those with vested interests—to solve complicated challenges like climate change. Trust in scientific institutions is particularly strong among Gen Z, as well as among those aged 55 and over.
As a result, technology companies, which straddle this trust boundary, are likely to become even more influential. The global public already rate technology and computer companies more highly than other types of companies when it comes to fulfilling their societal responsibilities. Since 2013, we have seen an upward trend in consumer ratings for these type of companies on meeting their responsibilities to society.
People in emerging markets, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, tend to have more positive perceptions of technology companies being socially responsible than people in North America and Europe, where enthusiasm is more muted.
Nevertheless, providing science-based and technological solutions to the world’s current challenges appears to resonate strongly with people across the world bringing, significant reputational benefits for companies and organizations.
GlobeScan Radar is a global survey conducted online among samples of 1,000 adults in each of 25 countries, weighted to reflect general population census data. The research was conducted during April and May of 2019.