Go Allport on new technology!

(last update 2 years ago)

World is a complex place. Every media is telling us that the world is changing and becoming faster and more dynamic. The change is mostly caused by the constant development of technology.

If we take a quick look back in time, the first industrial revolution took place around late 18th century. It was about inventing the mechanical industry where steam power played a big role. The second revolution took place about 150 years later in the early 20th century when Henry Ford with his colleagues came up with the moving assembly line. The third industrial revolution started around 50 years later, which Alan Turing had lots to do with his research on computer science and artificial intelligence.

Whether we are on the brink of the fourth revolution, or the third one is just prolonged, doesn’t really matter. The only thing that matters is that the speed of change is levelling and more and more variables come to play making the world ever more complex.

One way to try to cope with the complexity is to use stereotypes. Gordon Allport is one of the most famous psychologists who understood how people perceive other people. According to him people have developed cognitive models – stereotypes – into their head to handle social situations faster and more efficiently.

In fact, the field of social situations is so complex that people wouldn’t be able to reasonably interact with each other without a certain ready-made model. These models can also be called information categories. Several psychologists and social psychologists have continued to study the topic and expanded the theory to objects and entities as well.

When people encounter something that doesn’t fit to any of their existing categories they either start forming a new one, shape the old one to accept the newcomer or leave it outside without getting to know it at all.

Now that we are somewhere between industrial revolutions number 3 and 4, constantly witnessing new innovations and having non-stop noise from various channels, it might be hard to stay on top of everything – even impossible. That’s why categorizing things, using stereotypes, is a very recommended way to interpret the world.

Below there are three “every-day” statements followed by a short explanation derived from social psychology describing what could be the reasoning behind the statements. Those can all present how existing stereotypes might affect people’s thoughts on new technology, such as augmented and virtual reality.

What’s YOUR standpoint on these?

  • “It’s nice at the moment and there’s no need to do anything.”
    • People tend to justify their existing position towards everything else.
  • “New technology doesn’t help me at all.”
    • In this case you might have categorized all new tech into one category and that might be even too simplified solution to understand the world these days.
  • “Generally our company thinks that we need new technology to stay forerunners on our field.”
    • People tend to think similarly as their closest reference group. This way they can make a difference between them and another group they don’t (even want to) belong to.

If the last statement is the one to best represent your thoughts and you want to hear more about the possibilities of new technology, such as AR and VR, we at Stereoscape are at your service. Give us a call!

Juuso Pihamaa

Key Account Manager, Stereoscape

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