Dazed and Confused: Consumer Attitudes About Emerging Technologies

Buzzy technologies get a lot of press, but they may also leave many people mystified.

A global survey by marketing platform Hubspot found that among a variety of emerging concepts, cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology, blockchain, leave the most people scratching their heads.

Interestingly, though, those surveyed seemed to perceive that blockchain and cryptocurrencies were not one in the same, because while more than one-quarter of respondents called cryptocurrencies overhyped, only 10% said the same about blockchain.

Two other emerging technologies that were also fairly widely perceived as being overhyped were driverless cars and artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, the survey found that half of respondents did not expect AI to ever have an impact on their jobs.

Those expectations seemed to align with age. Older people were mostly confident that AI wouldn't affect their work, while younger people were much more likely to see their jobs being affected at some point in the future. This split viewpoint might actually reflect a shared vision of the future, the only difference being that older workers don't expect to work long enough to see their jobs affected.

The Hubspot study also showed that more widely used technologies were not considered confusing or overrated. Voice search, for example, was called confusing by only 7% of respondents and overrated by just 10%.

That level of acceptance parallels the rapid increase in use of voice assistants, which eMarketer estimates will reach a 27.6% penetration rate among the overall US population this year.