Navigating tech fears in the modern world

In a tech-driven era, the fear of technology is a growing concern for many people. With some, including business owners, hesitating to take the associated risks in adopting new technology. According to Forbes, 43% of businesses are concerned about technology dependence, and an additional 35% worry about not having the technical skills to use AI effectively.

Amid the ever-evolving tech landscape, with buzzwords like artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G networks, it's time to face the fear of tech head-on. Embracing and recognising its potential to transform and shake things up for your business; potentially driving growth and streamlining processes.

The psychology of change

Studies have shown that being uncertain about change can create the same painful feelings in your brain as a failure. So, if you’re uncertain about something, you feel you’ve failed (Source: Psychmechanics).

These painful feelings motivate us to remedy our situation. When you feel bad from being uncertain, your mind sends you negative feelings, or fear, to restore certainty.

Tech fear and uncertainty today

Recent trends in uncertainties about AI and 5G networks stem from concerns over job displacement, privacy issues, and the unknown consequences of rapidly evolving technologies. In October 2023, The Office for National Statistics published stats showing that 32% of adults in work fear that AI technology might put their jobs at risk, although the same survey showed 28% thought AI would make their job easier.

Letting these fears hold us back could put a damper on our personal progress and skill development. The trick? Understanding that our fears and concerns are less about the technology itself and more about unknown outcomes or making a mistake; and grasping the potential benefits and figuring out how to make these technologies work wonders for us. Education and understanding are the key to demystifying these useful tools and adopting them early can provide invaluable advantages for your business.

The potential for innovation

The pros and cons of AI are much debated, but ultimately for businesses, it’s evolved into a tool that can amp up efficiency and productivity without kicking jobs to the kerb. In many circumstances AI can augment human capabilities, letting employees focus on more creative and complex tasks.

5G networks offer promising game-changing connectivity, especially for digital operations expansion and remote working.

Overall, although daunting at times, embracing technology can be an opportunity to drive innovation, letting us work more efficiently and creating both more time and tools for developing new ideas, products and services.

Overcoming tech fear: a blueprint for business

For businesses to shake off the fear of tech, it’s all about cultivating a culture of adaptability and continuous learning. Using education and training programs to demystify technology and empower employees to harness its potential both for their own skill sets and the business they work for or own. Fostering an environment where innovation is cheered, not feared is the goal.

Overcoming the fear of technology is key for businesses to thrive in the digital age, to remain competitive and to attract new talent. Embracing AI, 5G networks, and automation can revolutionise operations, driving efficiency and fuelling a culture of progress.

By recognising the potential perks and tackling concerns through education and training, businesses can position themselves at the forefront of technological advancement, ensuring sustained success in the ever-evolving landscape of the business world.

Try setting some goals for monitoring and adopting new technologies, this might involve regular research or subscribing to media or events about technology relevant to your business needs. Make sure to record where you’re starting from and map out where you want to be in 6 months and 12 months and set some milestone reviews to hold yourself accountable to the process.

Useful resources for keeping up to date with emerging technology in the UK include the trade body TechUK website and social channels and the Government’s Department for Science, Innovation & Technology web page.

We (NatWest Group plc) can't accept responsibility for any decisions or actions you take based on this article. It’s for information only and not meant to offer specific advice. And although we think it’s reliable, we haven’t independently checked all the information in it.  You also shouldn’t copy the article anywhere without our consent. All views and forecasts in it are ours and can change.

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