Survey: Singapore residents don’t trust technology to make decisions for them

Singapore residents do not trust data and technology when it comes to making meaningful decisions that have a significant, long-term impact on their lives.

New research from data intelligence company Qlik conducted by YouGov shows that more than half (56%) of those surveyed tend to make decisions based on their emotions, experiences, and intuition, as opposed to factual data and technology.

The research results come at a time where many Singapore residents are choosing not to use TraceTogether, the country’s contract-tracing app. Many people have expressed security concerns, with memories of past instances of cyberattacks on government databases. In 2018, hackers copied hospital records of more than 1.5 million patients in the country.

Other reported reasons for the low participation include an unexciting interface and the app’s drain on phone battery. To address this, authorities are now working with Apple and Google to update the app. About 1.4 million people (one quarter) of Singapore’s 5.6 million population have downloaded the app so far. Authorities say three-quarters of the population need to use the app for it to be effective.

TraceTogether, Singapore’s COVID-19 contact tracing app

The YouGov research identified privacy and security concerns as the main reasons for the participant’s trust gap:

  • 67% are concerned that their data and information might be disclosed to the public;
  • 61% fear that they have no control over what data or information is collected from them;
  • Almost half (46%) are concerned about losing human connections, as data and technology might cause them to interact less with the people around them.

When asked for the reasons for trusting data and technology, almost three-quarters of consumers (73%) state that it helps them save time, while just under two-thirds (63%) believe it keeps them more informed. Almost half believe data and technology help them to solve problems (45%) and make better decisions (44%).

Interestingly, this trust gap continues to widen with Generation Z. More than half (51%) of this generation is wary of devices, websites, and apps collecting data or personal information about them in return for convenience and productivity.

Suganthi Shivkumar, MD of ASEAN, India, and Korea at Qlik, said Generation Z defy the trend of each generation relying on and trusting data and technology more than the previous one, putting them more in line with Baby Boomers. Shivkumar suggested that as they have been raised with computers and the internet, more experience with digital connectivity could make them less charmed by the novelty and warier of its potential consequences.

Parts adapted from: WARC

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