Remember when former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that the pandemic should make people grateful for big tech?
His wish may be coming true, if new polls are to be believed.
During the pandemic, where online freedoms from speech to privacy are being eroded – some are getting complacent about the powers of big tech, with the backlash against giants such as Google and Facebook somewhat softening, according to a new survey.
From 2015 to 2019, people’s perception of big tech firms greatly changed. For instance, back in 2015, more than 70% of the American population thought that the tech companies were making a positive impact in the country. By 2019, however, only 50% of the American population were still thinking that tech companies were bringing about positive growth.
Ever since the pandemic, big tech companies stepped into the field of public health, parenting alongside governments to produce technological interventions.
Google and Apple, for instance, announced an initiative that helps contract tracing by implementing Bluetooth technology to track people coming in close contact with infected patients. Researchers from MIT have also developed an app for improved contract tracing.
A tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that more than 60% of Americans would be willing to share their COVID-19 test results and location with an app.
Based on a poll by Harris/Axios, it was found that 38% of the American population views the tech industry more popular than before, ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19. More than 81% of people taking the poll said that they are in full support of the contact tracing activities led by large tech companies [big tech].
Public health officials are hopeful about the contact tracing by tech companies as they think that it can greatly help them in controlling the pandemic. It is, however, worth noting that any contact tracing application can only be effective if it is used by at least 60% of the population, so governments are soon going to be pushing everyone to download the apps to their phone.
Since polls can’t be trusted, only time will tell how much further the pandemic will push people into the arms of tech giants.