Rise of the Machines?

Virtual reality, digital payments, and personal privacy in the evolving world of consumer tech

How can brands understand what consumers like about new technologies, and what makes them anxious? Consumers’ views of new technologies swing from convenient to complicated and exciting to risky on a dime, which makes it incredibly difficult for brands to know if their products will end up on the cutting edge or the cutting room floor.


From practically zero discussion volume in 2010, the artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality conversation steadily grew over the years, but it wasn’t until 2015 that conversation really took off.
Tech-1Even when the conversation spiked, consumer sentiment for AI, AR and VR has steadily grown more negative. And although there are AI tools that protect consumer privacy, people are increasingly associating AI tools and apps with the erosion of personal privacy.

Weighed down by the invasion-of-privacy baggage, sentiment around AI, AR and VR has steadily become more negative in recent years.

Watch me…watch you

In analyzing conversations focused around consumer privacy, security, and information, we found rising anxiety among consumers. People view privacy violations as disrespectful and dangerous, exacerbated by a looming distrust for the government. Recently, this anxiety has morphed into anger.


Among privacy discussion topics, the overwhelming theme was “People don’t respect your privacy”.

Bitcoin for safety?

Privacy concerns are amplified when money is involved. Because of this, Bitcoin has continued rise in popularity on social media. The cryptocurrency that has witnessed a steady rise over the last six years has managed to build credibility as being safe and protecting privacy compared to other digital payment services like Venmo and PayPal.

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