Germans oversaturated by technology - study on acceptance of future trends

Germans are oversaturated with technology and feel little need for new applications. The current range of products seems to cover not only everyday necessities, but also more or less all obvious wishes and dreams. This also heralds a technological-digital epochal change from a psychological perspective. This is the central result of the joint study "The Human Factor" by the rheingold Institute and Ströer Core. Here you can find a recording of the study presentation .

Boldest pipe dreams of people are already surpassed

"Successive crises have made us realize how limited human omnipotence is," says psychologist and institute director Stephan Grünewald. "For many years, digital absolutism led us to believe that we could rule the world with the swipe of a finger, as with the smartphone. In our latest study, we can see absolute disillusionment in this regard. We have reached a point in the history of progress where what is technologically possible has outstripped even people's wildest dreams."

When asked how they envision the future on a technological-digital level, the in-depth psychological interviews were often followed by a perplexed to overwhelmed silence. Instead of joyful anticipation of what the technological-digital future might bring, a kind of weariness has set in among Germans.

Do people trust techniques like ChatGPT?

"The hype surrounding ChatGPT has shown that many technologies of the future have become technically more mature in recent years and are therefore actually ready for a broad market launch," says Christian von den Brincken, Managing Director of Ströer Core. However, it is just as important that people accept the technology, trust it and see it as useful.

In addition, awareness of the CO2 emissions and resource consumption caused by digital applications is growing steadily. In addition, technological trends and applications that are communicatively too one-sidedly oriented toward consumption and are not embedded in any overarching context of meaning beyond that tend to be evaluated more critically. "Technology for technology's sake is no longer a convincing argument for people," says Stephan Grünewald.

Desire for digital reduction

The feeling of oversaturation and the desire for digital reduction can be well illustrated by the example of the smartphone: Users are often only aware of a fraction of the available applications and are annoyed by the sheer unmanageable number of apps and the need to download, configure and use them individually. There is therefore a rigorous deletion and sorting out of apps on the smartphone - and before downloading or using them, apps are checked much more closely for their relevance to everyday life and their actual usefulness.

Key microtrends examined for the Media division

As part of the study and the exploration of the 15 most important microtrends for the media & entertainment market, such as generative artificial intelligence or augmented reality, the study identified four necessary core psychological conditions that are crucial for the willingness of Germans to engage more deeply with the trends and applications and form the basis for fundamental acceptance. Only then will it be possible to penetrate the everyday lives of Germans with an application.

Necessary conditions for the acceptance of technology:

  • Sense of sovereign controllability
  • Trust & Safety
  • Meaningfulness
  • Emergency maneuverability

The four conditions can be understood and used as an overarching test grid for the compatibility of technological-digital trends and applications with the human factor. Christian von den Brincken also sees a German peculiarity in the study results: "Many countries have consistently invested in a digital mindset: Finland, Estonia, Sweden, Ukraine. The skepticism of the Germans can develop as a location disadvantage. Our study offers approaches to understanding how meaningful digital solutions can find acceptance among people and how we can dissolve this collective blockade."

Study setting with two-hour in-depth interviews.

For the study, 76 subjects aged 13 to 65 were interviewed in two-hour in-depth psychological interviews. The trends were based on Ströer Core's "Crossroads" trend atlas, a comprehensive work on meta, macro and micro trends in Germany as a business location, which Ströer published in 2021 and fundamentally revised in 2023. In it, relevant technological trends were curated in terms of their maturity for the German market.

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