Over the past couple of years all sorts of organisations have been desperate to re-badge themselves as 'digital businesses' - from banks and retailers through to Government departments.
Much of this has been driven by the perceived attractiveness to shareholders and employers of being part of a digital business - with the salaries and dividends to boot.
But in the wake of Cambridge Analytica & Facebook; Google investigated for antitrust violations; employee protests at Google & Amazon - not to forget Elon Musk claiming AI was a “demon” that posed an existential threat to the human race & Bill Gates warning that automation was proceeding so quickly that governments should tax robots in order to slow down its progress - is the sector losing its lustre?
The “techlash” phenomenon refers to a growing animus toward large technology companies (a.k.a., “Big Tech”) and to a more generalized opposition to modern technology itself, particularly innovations driven by information technology.
All of this led up to the point where the term “techlash” was runner-up in Oxford Dictionary’s 2018 word of the year.
And whilst people differentiate between 'traditional' tech businesses and social/digital platforms - we're seeing decreasing trust levels - with 26% of Gen Z and 22% of millennials saying they lack trust in technology companies.
Now we've seen this all before. Remember the early 20th century techlash against the automobile, where laws were passed that required a person to walk in front of “horseless carriages” waiving a red flag.
However, the scope and vociferousness of today’s techlash suggests it might be more serious than in past episodes, and is likely to grow further.
A brutal year: how the 'techlash' caught up with Facebook, Google and Amazon A brutal year: how the 'techlash' caught up with Facebook, Google and Amazon The tech industry found itself on the receiving end of increased scrutiny from lawmakers and the public What goes up must come down, and in 2019, gravity reasserted itself for the tech industry. After years of relatively unchecked growth, the tech industry found itself on the receiving end of increased scrutiny from lawmakers and the public and attacks from its own employees.