ICYMI: Yet Another Poll Shows Americans Believe Internet Has Been Good For Them Personally & For Society
On Monday, Pew released a new survey from January 2018 that finds 88 percent of online U.S. adults feel the internet has mostly been a good thing personally, while 70 percent find the internet has been a good thing for society. Most mentioned increased access to information thanks to the internet, while others mentioned the ability to connect with friends and family.
This poll is consistent with recent polling and research that finds “techlash” is largely an insider narrative and consumers are both optimistic and highly value tech services.
— U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) notes, “There’s more of a tech backlash in the Beltway than there is in the country.” In other places, he adds, “You actually see a fair amount of optimism about tech.”
Two weeks ago, a new Harris poll, for example, finds 68 percent of people believe tech has a positive impact on society and 70 percent believe it has a positive impact on their daily life. Moreover, in February a Survey Monkey/Axios survey found 71 percent of people think tech companies have had a positive impact on society. In the fall, a series of polls conducted by Morning Consult revealed users remained steady in their appreciation for tech services — despite increasing D.C. insider antagonism.
— Consumers would have to be paid $17,500 to give up search engines for a year.
Citing an NBER working paper by MIT productivity economist Erik Brynjolfsson, among others, The Economist notes, “Survey respondents said that they would have to be paid $3,600 to give up internet maps for a year, and $8,400 to give up e-mail. Search engines appear to be especially valuable: consumers surveyed said that they would have to be paid $17,500 to forgo their use for a year.”
— A recent poll from The Wall Street Journal and NBC finds 51 percent of Americans feel there is either too much or just the right amount of regulation right now.
As Larry Downes, project director of Georgetown University’s Center for Business and Public Policy, argues, laws written retrospectively to control new technologies often cost consumers more than feared damage does. He writes, “The regulatory process is, by design, slow-paced, both in design and execution, impeding the introduction of innovations that might solve the problems of earlier versions.”
More information below.
Pew Research Center Survey Finds 88 Percent Of U.S. Adults Say The Internet Has Been A Good Thing Personally. “Americans tend to view the impact of the internet and other digital technologies on their own lives in largely positive ways, Pew Research Center surveys have shown over the years. A survey of U.S. adults conducted in January 2018 finds continuing evidence of this trend, with the vast majority of internet users (88%) saying the internet has, on balance, been a mostly good thing for them personally.” (Aaron Smith and Kenneth Olmstead, “Declining Majority Of Online Adults Say The Internet Has Been Good For Society,” Pew Research Center, 4/30/18)
U.S. Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.): “There’s More Of A Tech Backlash In The Beltway Than There Is In The Country.” “The Facebook hearings captivated Washington, as lawmakers rebuked Zuckerberg. But Khanna, who has travelled with colleagues to Ohio and West Virginia where residents are hungry for digital skills, says there’s less animus toward technology outside the capital. ‘There’s more of a tech backlash in the Beltway than there is in the country,’ he says. Elsewhere, ‘You actually see a fair amount of optimism about tech.’ The hearings may have exacerbated this divide, Khanna says. ‘My view is the country left thinking not, ‘Wow, Facebook is bad.’ Most people left thinking, ‘Wow, how out of touch is Congress.’'” (Scott Thurm, “This Silicon Valley Lawmaker Has A Plan To Regulate Tech,” Wired, 4/30/18)
According To Economists Erik Brynjolfsson, Felix Eggers And Avinash Gannamaneni, Americans Would Have To Be Paid $3,600 To Give Up Internet Maps For A Year, $8,400 To Give Up E-Mail, And $17,500 To Give Up Search Engines. “One way to quantify how much these internet services are worth is by asking people how much money they would have to be paid to forgo using them for a year. A new working paper by Erik Brynjolfsson, Felix Eggers and Avinash Gannamaneni, three economists, does exactly this and finds that the value for consumers of some internet services can be substantial. Survey respondents said that they would have to be paid $3,600 to give up internet maps for a year, and $8,400 to give up e-mail. Search engines appear to be especially valuable: consumers surveyed said that they would have to be paid $17,500 to forgo their use for a year.” (“How Much Would You Pay To Keep Using Google?” The Economist, 4/25/18)
(Erik Brynjolfsson, Felix Eggers, and Avinash Gannamaneni, “Using Massive Online Choice Experiments To Measure Changes In Well-Being,” National Bureau Of Economic Research Working Paper, 4/18)
Larry Downes, Project Director Of The Georgetown Center For Business And Public Policy, Says Consumers Pay For Increased Regulation Indirectly Through The Unintentional Slowing Of Continued Invention. “Those calling generally and vaguely for ‘more’ regulation of tech, however, should heed the wisdom of Nobel prize-winning economist Ronald Coase, who demonstrated half a century ago that laws written to control the damage caused by new technologies often cost consumers more than do the harms themselves. How? First, consumers pay directly in the form of expanding bureaucracies and indirectly in the unintentional slowing or skewing of continued invention. The regulatory process is, by design, slow-paced, both in design and execution, impeding the introduction of innovations that might solve the problems of earlier versions. Worse, it is easily captured by the companies regulated, and subject to political exploitation when a juicy scandal captures public attention.” (“Should The Tech Giants Be More Heavily Regulated?” The Economist Open Future, Debate, 4/30/18)