Do You Like Progress?

March 10, 2014

WASHINGTON (March 10, 2014) - If there is one constant it is change: new technologies, new industries, new occupations, new everything. But is new good? Are these changes leading to progress where most, if not all of us will be better off? Or have we left behind some valuable things from the past to the point where perhaps the past was better, at least in some respects?

To understand where people stand on "progress," the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has created doyoulikeprogress.org, which features a brief survey designed to assess the public's opinion on progress and its impact on society. This is more important than ever because of the central role voters' beliefs in progress play in policymaking in our increasingly technological society.

"Faith in progress and technological change has long been a hallmark of American society and a key factor in our economic and societal advancement over the last two centuries," notes Robert Atkinson President of ITIF. "However America risks losing this long-held, distinctive advantage due to an increasingly vocal group of neo-Luddites who argue that progress is not a force for betterment that should be encouraged, but as something to be stopped."

Atkinson argues that neo-Luddites want a world in which a worker never loses a job, even when the newer technology behind it leads to greater employment; consumer rights trump all else, even lower prices; and no personal information is shared, even if sharing benefits society and enables a vibrant Internet ecosystem. In short, they want to slow advancement at all costs, even when those costs hurt the public they are trying to protect.

"Through doyoulikeprogress.org we hope to help people better assess where they stand on this critical issue free of the hyperbole and misinformation that often typifies discussions of technological change," Atkinson adds.

Take the survey.

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The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank whose mission is to formulate and promote public policies to advance technological innovation and productivity internationally, in Washington, and in the states. Recognizing the vital role of technology in ensuring prosperity, ITIF focuses on innovation, productivity, and digital economy issues. Learn more at www.itif.org.