US tops public distrust in innovation on eve of Davos -Edelman

By Megan Davies

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – Business and governments are doing a poor job of managing and regulating new technologies, a survey of people ahead of this week’s World Economic Forum’s annual meeting has found.

The Edelman survey, released as the WEF meeting is set to begin under the theme “Rebuilding Trust”, found 39% of respondents asked if they trusted business and NGOs with introducing innovations and governments to regulate them, said it was poorly managed. Just 22% said it was well managed.

Still, business was the most trusted category to integrate innovation into society, ahead of NGOs, government and media.

The highest level of mistrust about the management of innovation among the countries surveyed by the public relations firm was in the United States, with 56% saying that innovation was poorly managed versus 14% saying it was well managed. The survey questioned 32,000 people in 28 countries during November.

The report said examples of pushback against technology included Beijing dropping COVID vaccine mandates in July 2022 after online pushback, U.S. Republican positions against electric vehicles and Hollywood writers’ battle against the use of artificial intelligence in writing scripts.

Resistance to innovation is political, the survey said, with more resistance in politically right-leaning people particularly in the United States, Australia, Germany and Canada.

The survey found that businesses were the most trusted to introduce innovations into society, more than non-governmental organizations, government and media.

“Innovation is accelerating and should be a growth enabler, but it will be stymied if business doesn’t pay as much attention to acceptance as it does research and development,” Edelman’S CEO Richard Edelman said in a statement,

The report also found Britain was at the bottom of Edelman’s Trust Barometer, which gives an average percent trust in NGOs, business, government and media, with a score of 39%.

(Reporting by Megan Davies; Editing by Alexander Smith)