A study by Trajectory Partnership for BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, has found that information technology can make you happier.
The report, called ‘The Information Dividend: Can IT make you happier?’ is based on an in-depth analysis of the World Values Survey which contains responses from over 35,000 people around the world. The idea behind the title of the report is that there is a dividend or additional payout from information technology to people in the form of personal and social happiness.
“The ‘Information Society’, as we see it, should be a place where information technology is used to improve life satisfaction and support our individual and collective goals, not to erode or undermine them. The IT profession should be here to serve that purpose,” said Elizabeth Sparrow, President of BCS.
The study showed that information technology had a positive impact on life satisfaction even when controlling for income and other factors known to be important in determining well-being. “Put simply, people with IT access are more satisfied with life even when taking account of income,” said social scientist Michael Willmott, the study’s author.
The people who benefited most from this appeared to be women, those on low incomes, and those with few qualifications. The highest benefit went to women in undeveloped countries, which clearly show a combination of the above three. Those who are socially constrained seem to benefit most.
The report also showed that there was no increase or decrease on the basis of age, which is an interesting discovery since IT is often more geared towards younger people.
The effect this will have on IT depends greatly on how people view these findings. The challenge for BCS is to promote the rollout and correct usage of technology so that it continues to improve life for as many people as possible.