The Ipsos survey for Maker Faire Rome on 4 thousand people, from Italy, Germany, France and the USA
Italians have great faith in the prodigies of technological innovation. For 88 per cent, interviewed by Ipsos for Maker Faire Rome – out of a sample of 4 thousand people from Italy, Germany, France and the USA – the change brought about by technology has decisively helped entrepreneurial and productive activity, facilitating the growth not only of large companies, but also of small businesses (29%).

Not only that, in the international arena, Italians feel more competent with new technologies than the French, Germans and Americans. The scenario in this area has radically changed the way people get information, travel, and do their shopping, but it has also increased the social differences between rich and poor countries, between the elderly and the young, between managers and workers.

The Ipsos survey for Maker Faire Rome, the event promoted and organised by the Rome Chamber of Commerce scheduled from 20 to 22 October, highlighted the positive impact of innovation. The research is in fact called ‘Innovation impact’ (Effects, impact and future of technological innovation) and also highlights the opinion of companies for whom technological innovation has been – and will continue to be – a major driver of transformation.

The survey shows how Italians perceive themselves as more competent, in the IT and digital sphere, than citizens of other countries (America, France and Germany): 6.7 is the average score compared to 6.2 for citizens of other countries. Everyday life, thanks to technology, has become easier and more intense for Italians, but also more stressful and isolated. Similar evaluations in the other countries, with some accentuations. For Americans, in addition to the existential simplification, technology has also made life more asphyxiating, boring and isolated. For the French to ease, technology has brought with it doses of lightness, but also stress and made existence poorer. The Germans emphasise lightness and intensity, but point the finger at isolation, existential impoverishment and stress.

But what feelings are aroused by the relationship between people and technological innovation? Feelings appear mixed: in Italy, dependence (39%) and trust (37%) go hand in hand. But also serenity (29%), expectation (24%) and ease (22%). In the USA, trust and happiness (42%) dominate, while among the French, dependence (43%) and uncertainty (25%) excel. In Germany, as in the Bel Paese, the majority feelings are those that oscillate between trust (38%) and dependence (36%): among the Germans there is also a sense of bewilderment (21%), while in the USA we encounter the highest figure of anxiety (20%). But in the balance of the aspects of daily life that technology has improved or worsened, for all citizens of the various countries, the judgement is very positive on informing themselves, on knowledge and awareness, on shopping, and on managing their transport and mobility.

In the relationship between technological innovation and society, the impact is different. More pernicious is the picture of social effects: for Italians, Germans and French, technological innovation has increased the gap between rich and poor, between young and old and between middle and working class. Larger gaps between people by level of education are reported in Germany (63%), while between managers and workers are highlighted in Italy (47%). Finally, for Americans, technology has widened the gaps between men and women (40%).

From the point of view of the relationship between inclusion and social exclusion, people in all countries report that technological innovations have increased the rates of social exclusion. The French are the first to report this assessment (74%), followed by the Italians (64% the former, 60% the latter). Lower, but still over half of the populations, are the figures in the USA and Germany (56% and 54% respectively). Decidedly more positive are the assessments of the impact that technological innovation has had on companies.

And again, very positive judgements on IoT, collaborative robotics – for everyone except Germany – Big Data Analytics – except France – and additive manufacturing. But above all, high expectations on the prodigies of Artificial Intelligence, particularly in Italy, seen as a technology capable of improving everyday life, while this perception is more attenuated in the other countries surveyed. The majority of citizens believe that in the next 10 years, Artificial Intelligence will be a fundamental or at least an important element of everyday life (84% in Italy) and will improve above all the possibilities of informing oneself, increasing one’s knowledge, transport and mobility management – except in the USA-, health management, shopping – except in Germany -,

doing business, except for Italy and France.

Finally, great sensitivity to green issues. New technologies will have a positive impact, at an environmental level, especially on renewable sources, food waste and a sustainable food chain, even though citizens tend not to expect particular and significant changes on this front. In relation to companies, the future role of technological innovations will bring more efficient production processes (34% in Italy, 49% in Germany and 40% in the USA), lower production costs (32% in Italy, 35% in Germany), more efficient work organisation (32% in Italy, 44% in Germany).