“Can tech rewrite its wrongs?” TBWA’s cultural intelligence unit calls for a healthier tech-human balance


  • Proprietary global research reveals over half (52%) of respondents are concerned about the direction new technology is headed
  • Only 30% of people say tech’s benefits outweigh the negative consequences
  • With techlash mounting, this year’s zine explores how to get innovation back on the right track

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today Backslash, the cultural intelligence unit of TBWA\Worldwide, released a global study examining society’s complex relationship with technology. The findings revealed that people are incredibly conflicted about the growing role technology plays in their lives. While 82% of people agree that technology has been a benefit by saving them time or money and making them more productive, 51% say that screen time negatively affects their physical and mental health. At the same time, the majority (52%) of people are concerned about the direction new technology is headed. These concerns come as technology becomes more immersive and further integrated into the most personal aspects of people’s lives.

Talking about the findings, Backslash’s Director of Cultural Strategy, Cecelia Girr notes, “Where personal technology once was simply external hardware that helped us navigate the world, it has now become our world. We live in tech. Work in it. Play in it. And while we’re coming to resent tech’s hold on us, we also realize that we can’t live without it.”

These insights and more are covered in Backslash’s newly released zine, which asks, “Can Tech Rewrite Its Wrongs?” To answer that question, the zine zeroes in on the four areas under greatest threat from technology—privacy, health, identity, and reality. These are also among the fastest-growing tech conversations, as validated by social listening data from NetBase Quid.

More than an observational report, the zine outlines clear opportunities for businesses to get on the right side of tech’s history. Some of the topics covered include:

Digital Nutrition: A conversation with AeBeZe Labs about why we need to treat our tech intake more like our food intake

  • AeBeZe Labs has created a range of tools to help people understand and improve their digital diet—including a digital nutrition table and a Rise app that lets you browse content by mood. AeBeZe’s founder, Michael Moskowitz, believes digital nutrition labels will eventually be as common as calorie labels on menus.

The Emotional Frontier: A look at how emotion recognition technology is altering our world                       

  • From mood forecasting wearables to emotion recognition surveillance, our once-private feelings are being monitored, predicted, and exploited in entirely new ways. And it’s only the beginning. According to Allied Market Research, the emotion detection and recognition market is expected to reach a whopping $103 billion by 2030. But what happens when tech encroaches on the very thing that makes us human, the most coveted resource of all?

Artificial Creativity: An exploration of how AI can enhance human creativity—not replace it                      

  • Giant leaps in the progression and availability of AI models are driving a shift from purely logical, task-oriented applications to more artistic, previously impossible outputs—challenging our ideas of “real” creativity. But while much of the world is resisting AI’s ever-expanding role, TBWA is welcoming it.

How to Die Digitally: Why securing your digital assets will be next big thing in end-of-life planning

  • According to Backslash research, 52% of people are concerned about who will have access to their digital assets and accounts when they die, but only 33% of people have actually done something about it. It’s time digital afterlife moves up the tech agenda.

“With every company now a tech company, this isn’t about putting the onus on a single industry. Every business will have a role to play in rebalancing our relationship with technology, and it starts with creating digital experiences that enrich instead of exploit,” says Alyson Stevens, TBWA\Worldwide’s Head of Connected Intelligence.

While the zine primarily focuses on implications for brands, Backslash is also asking readers to consider how their own actions are shaping the future of technology. To do that, it has partnered with award-winning innovation agency dotdotdash to create a digital experience that helps participants unpack their personal relationship with technology. Enter the simulation here to find out where you stand.

The full zine can be downloaded now at https://www.backslash.com/reports/tech-zine

Research Methodology
Backslash conducted a proprietary quantitative survey regarding attitudes and behaviors toward established and emerging technology devices, platforms, and services in December 2021. The sample included 4177 respondents across eight countries: Australia, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, U.K., and U.S. representative of population by age, gender, and regional distributions.

About Backslash
Backslash is a cultural intelligence unit powered by the global TBWA collective. With support from over 330 Spotters, Backslash closely observes and analyzes worldwide developments so that TBWA—and its clients—can better anticipate cultural change. Through a dynamic hybrid of strategy, data, and journalism, Backslash turns today’s stories into tomorrow’s opportunities. For more information, follow us on Instagram at @TBWABackslash or visit www.backslash.com.

About TBWA\Worldwide
TBWA is The Disruption® Company. We use creativity to help businesses challenge the status quo and capture an unfair share of the future. Named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company in 2021, 2020 and 2019, and Adweek’s 2021 and 2018 Global Agency of the Year, we are a creative company that uses trademarked Disruption® methodologies to help businesses address their challenges and achieve transformative growth. Our collective has 10,000+ creative minds in 41 countries, and also includes brands such as Auditoire, Digital Arts Network (DAN), eg+ worldwide, GMR, The Integer Group®, TBWA\Media Arts Lab, TBWA\WorldHealth and TRO. Global clients include adidas, Apple, Gatorade, Henkel, Hilton Hotels, McDonald’s, Nissan, and Singapore Airlines.  Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and like us on Facebook. TBWA is part of Omnicom Group.

SOURCE TBWA\Worldwide



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