To fear or not to fear? Digital phobia in the software world

Do people worry about new technologies nowadays? Surely they do. Everything from robots taking our jobs and 5G networks harming our health, to “black mirrors” taking over the world and killing it for some digital benefit. Apparently, this kind of behavior has a scientific name and humans have experienced it for centuries.

What is technophobia?

Technophobia is abnormal anxiety, fear, or a serious dislike of advanced technology or complex devices. Surprisingly, it is quite a common thing: experts say we all suffer at least some amount of discomfort or nervousness when confronted with new technology. However, technophobia is not recognized as a distinct disorder by the DSM-5.

It may seem like technophobia is a phenomenon of the 21st century, connected with the world’s digitalization. In fact, humans have feared everything new throughout the centuries, from mills to electricity. And there are some great examples to share.

Technophobia throughout history

Back in 1890, some people seriously considered a bicycle to be a wreck in society. Some scientists tried to blame the bicycle for an increase in cases of insanity, especially in women. Some physicians expressed concerns about the so-called “bicycle face”: dark shadows under the eyes and a tired expression.

In the 19th century, an organization of English mill workers called “Luddites” smashed textile machinery as a form of jobs-saving protest. Even though the organization wasn’t radically anti-progressive, their name came to sound like an insult, shorthand for a backward person scared of advances in technology.

The appearance of the first commercial cars made people concerned about metal monsters taking their jobs. When the first horseless vehicles entered the New York market at the end of the 19th century, bicycle manufacturers refused to believe in inevitable progress. This moment was captured in a local newspaper and mentioned in the book Life is a Highway: A Century of Great Automotive Writing: “It is only a question of a short time when the carriages and trucks of every large city will be run by motors. You must remember that every invention of this kind which is made adds to the general wealth by introducing a new system of a greater economy of force”.

A digital phobia is just the modern incarnation of technophobia, as now our technological developments are all, well, digital.

Why do people hate change?

The short answer is: “because humans feel comfortable doing what they have always been doing”. Remember the famous phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,”. Seems like a motto for many generations, despite their wealth or willingness to explore new things.

Psychologists confirm that humans tend to genuinely believe what they’ve been doing, and how they’ve been doing it, is the best possible way to do it. And the paradox is that the longer they’ve been doing it in a particular way, the more they’d believe that nothing needs to be changed.

If we are talking about business, most people dislike upgrading because of:

  1. Lack (or perceived lack) of reward
  2. Fear of the unknown
  3. Loss of status or visibility in the organization.

And now it’s a perfect time to talk about how to deal with those fears.

Resisting digitalization in business

Digitalization obviously seems to be beneficial for every part of our life, especially if we are talking about business. It is so hard to imagine our modern life without maps, search engines, taxi services, and dozens of other useful applications. Then why are humans resistant to it and how to combat those fears? What are the usual concerns?

  1. Change equals disorder. It is sort of true because every automation brings disruptions – big or small – into current processes. Not every company can quickly tackle difficult and time-consuming tasks while switching. But look at it from another angle: if you don’t implement something important now you’ll have to face it later, probably at uneasy times as well.
  2. Questionable worth. No-one can predict the future and say 100% what will be beneficial. This is what makes it extremely difficult to make a choice. A general piece of advice here would be: everything that offers automation of any sort will be useful and future-proof.
  3. Unsuccessful experience. If that happened to you you might feel discouraged from making changes in the future. Yet, unfortunately, this is a fact of business – and there will be people who take that risk, over and over again, until it works. But if you don’t take the initiative of risk, one day you might occur well behind your competitors.

Remember, that successful digital transformation is not about technology per se, but about people who aren’t afraid to implement it.

HR technology in the HR world

Many years ago software instruments appeared on the market to help HR professionals tackle daily tasks automatically or with a minimum effort. There’s nothing bad about using this kind of technology if it makes life easier. It surely increases ROI and, in general, is quite beneficial.

Clearmove is an HR software for simplifying control over international assignments. With its help, both HR professionals and assignees can deal with complicated relocation processes significantly easier, faster, and safer. If you regularly deal with international assignments in your enterprise, you should consider our revolutionary software to streamline the process in a modern way. Sooner or later all big companies will use HR software for relocations, it’s just a question of time. Who do you want to be: a risk-taker ahead of your competitors or a Luddite who fears change? If you choose the first option, contact us to book an appointment with our manager.


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