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Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans think that today’s society is too dependent upon electronic gadgets, and 39% do not think technology (such as mobile phones, Wi-Fi networks and GPS) really makes people more productive, according to (pdf) a recent Harris Poll from Harris Interactive.

Surprisingly, the study found no significant age divide among those who believe Americans are too reliant on technology or those who say technology increases productivity. Fully 58% of Echo Boomers (ages 18-32) say mobile technology does not make Americans more productive while almost three-quarters (72%) of them believe that society is too dependent of electronics and electronic gadgets.


The Baby Boomer (ages 45-63) segment of the population is least likely to agree that society is too dependent on gadgets, while the Echo Boomers are most likely to use all of the features and functions on their technology devices, Harris said.


Technology Key to Recovery

Despite some skepticism about technology’s role in personal productivity, the survey did find that a majority of US consumers believe that advanced technology will nonetheless play a key role in recovery from the economic recession and in driving continued prosperity in the future.

Survey findings with regard to advanced technology:


  • Technology will help education: Almost three-quarters of Americans (73%) believe that investing in innovation and advanced technology sciences in education is the key to the country’s long term success.
  • Technology can help US automakers: Seven in ten Americans (71%) say not only an investment in hybrids and alternative fuels but a technological leadership role in these technologies could mean survival for the US auto industry.
  • Technology can reduce travel costs: Seven in ten adults (71%) believe that travel costs for businesses could be cut if technology such as video conferencing were better used.
  • Other ideas that are widely supported are the use of technology to produce “green” products and services (67%) and to manage medical records and patient care (67%).

Practical High-Tech Applications

The survey also inquired about advanced wireless, mobile device applications that are just entering the marketplace or will be introduced in the near future. It found the following:

  • 28% of consumers strongly or very strongly like the idea of using GPS technology to balance and monitor traffic to determine the most effective routes in real time for an effective transportation system.
  • 31% indicate they would be highly interested in purchasing mobile, wireless devices to monitor their car in real time, advising them of developing problems and even updating engine software to keep their car running at peak performance.
  • 26% of consumers very strongly or strongly like the idea of a 4G wireless network that could provide seamless voice, internet, and entertainment to their homes and mobile devices
  • 27% of consumers very strongly or strongly like the idea of controlling home systems or appliances from a mobile device.
  • 40% of Americans say they would not like it at all if their doctor could monitor their vital signs in real time using a mobile device.

About the survey: The Harris Poll of 2,355 US adults was conducted online from March 9 – 16, 2009 by Harris Interactive.

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