How will technology affect future well-being?

In the meantime, there will be less face-to-face. A Closer Look at the Study · Common Concerns · Expected Benefits Experts are also concerned about the impact digital life will have on mental health. They worry that we will see increases in stress, anxiety and depression as digital lives expand. Meanwhile, there will be less face-to-face interaction, more inactivity, poor in-person communication skills, and general distrust between people.

And this August, it announced “digital wellness” tools that allow users to monitor time spent and set limits, and facilitate the muting of push notifications. While technology adoption can be detrimental to people's well-being in the short term, especially in relation to jobs and income, technology itself could be used to help smooth out those disruptions. The results showed that spending only a few hours a day using digital devices was associated with slightly better well-being than none at all. In addition, many of the hopeful respondents also agree that some harm will arise in the future, especially for those who are vulnerable.

Many who argue that human well-being will be harmed also recognize that digital tools will continue to improve various aspects of life. In general, experts speculate that the instant gratification teens get from their digital devices makes it difficult for them to learn impulse control, patience and concentration — skills that are necessary for healthy well-being in the future. While a life of cheap happiness, of satiated will, can produce more net well-being measured in terms of subjective happiness, at the same time it would be a rather regrettable life, devoid of many of humanity's significant blessings. AI-based traffic management in cities, including optimizing traffic light networks to improve the flow of cars and trucks, can reduce the health impact of air pollution by 3 to 15 percent.

And teens who report the lowest levels of social and emotional well-being are also more likely to report that social media has a positive effect. Several respondents pointed out that digital life opens the door to social dangers that can affect people's well-being. Much research on the impact of digital technologies suffers from limitations or failures, such as problems in finding appropriate control groups. Not only are there a number of emotional and legal consequences related to sexting, but it can also significantly affect overall well-being that lasts long after.

The experts who participated in the Pew study did offer some solutions to combat the harmful effects of digital life on future well-being. Sherry Turkle, one of the world's leading researchers in human-computer interaction, was one of the experts who offered solutions to improve the impacts of digital life on people's well-being.

Estelle Palacios
Estelle Palacios

Proud zombie maven. Certified bacon specialist. Award-winning bacon maven. Lifelong tv junkie. Typical travel advocate.

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