Majority of Americans Would Like to Return to Time Before Cell Phones, Internet, According to New Poll

Even younger respondents who have never lived in such a world voted in favor of giving it a whirl

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Seventy-seven percent of middle-age Americans (35-54 years old) say they want to return to a time before society was “plugged in,” meaning a time before there was widespread internet and cell phone usage. As told by a new Harris Poll (via Fast Company), 63% of younger folks (18-34 years old) were also keen on returning to a pre-plugged-in world, despite that being a world they largely never had a chance to occupy.

In total, 67% of respondents said they’d prefer things as they used to be versus as they are now. On the flip side, 90% saw the importance in being open-minded when it came to new tech.

But though the majority agreed that it’s good to be open-minded, over half also felt it was overwhelming trying to keep up with new tech. Roughly the same percentage believed tech was more divisive than uniting.

These survey results come as generative AI has shaken up tech and redefined how the public views the phrase “artificial intelligence,” the likes of which has existed for a long time (video games have, in a way, been using AI since their earliest days of existence). Now, tech is enabling people to get investment advice from a computer in real time. That same tech is also doing a better job communicating with humans than real people are, as evidenced by customer satisfaction scores noted by a UK CEO highlighting the benefits of embracing the future.

Even keeping the conversation solely to connective tech such as smart phones and the internet, modern developments have given people ample incentive to want to return to a simpler time. For example, Meta is struggling to exterminate Instagram’s pedophile network, which openly benefits from the indiscriminatory nature of Instagram’s own search algorithms.

And the same sorts of technological foundations allowing criminals to engage with each other on public platforms are also enabling the spread of fake news, the likes sites such as Facebook and YouTube are reeling back the policing of.