INRIA (National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology) and Harris Interactive France (marketing studies and opinion polls) conducted a survey on French confidence in digital science and technology. They revealed the results of this double survey conducted among 2,046 people on October 14. INRIA’s objective is to strengthen the relationship between science and society by measuring the evolution of the understanding of digital opportunities and risks.
The crucial role of digital technology for the French
Although 74% of French people are aware of the importance of digital technologies in their daily lives, 44% of them do not necessarily understand the scope of research on digital sciences, and 61% even consider it to be a field reserved for experts.
Bruno Sportisse, CEO of INRIA, said:
“This barometer highlights a real paradox: on the one hand, the French are very interested in the use of technology and its consequences, particularly in terms of data protection, but, on the other hand, they do not show a strong interest in the
on the other hand, they do not show much interest in how these technologies work, and even less in the sciences that underpin them.
This paradox underlines the importance of disseminating scientific and technological culture in the digital world and strongly encourages Inria and public research players to play a greater role in this area. The evolution of the level of knowledge must enable citizens to act with awareness and responsibility. It is through dissemination that research institutes will contribute to the animation of a dialogue between science and society, for which institutional decision-makers are key players. This is a critical issue for building a digital society of trust.
Although 82% of French people associate digital technology with progress, particularly in the areas of health, education, the environment and data protection, 54% remain suspicious, and 60% feel they are poorly informed about the risks. Paradoxically, 90% feel it is important to preserve their privacy without using the necessary tools, and only 36% are informed about the issues and ethics of digital technology.
Jean-Daniel Levy, managing director of Harris Interactive France, adds:
“With this study we sought to offer the most accurate overview possible of the French people’s understanding of new technologies. We discovered with great interest the very high expectations of the French for new technologies and, as a mirror effect, the fears that may be linked to them. This is a real underlying trend that we found in both our quantitative and qualitative analyses.
Training in digital issues is essential
This survey shows the important place that digital technology has taken in the lives of the French, with 82% of them believing that training in its challenges is essential. The concepts perceived as paramount in the daily lives of the French are data protection and cybercrime for 69% of them, followed by AI for 55%, human/machine interaction for 50% and open source for 40%.
Laurent Stencel, communications director at INRIA, concludes:
“The results of this first barometer confirm the need for Inria to create, with its partners, the conditions for a relationship of trust with the French, to invent new forms of dialogue in which our researchers are the actors, thanks to a strengthened proximity with the opinion relays. At Inria, we are convinced that a better understanding of opportunities and risks would better support the challenges of sovereignty. Measuring the evolution of this level of understanding should enable us to adjust our actions and to build, with the components of society, solutions to better meet expectations.