As soon as humans invented complex languages, the emergence of religion immediately entered our civilization. Language after all, provided the human species with a new tool to explore the unknown and our place within it. These new words and symbols became sophisticated vessels with which we travelled into the future and into the past in order to search for answers to the greatest questions of our time. But with the explosion of knowledge and new technologies in the 20th and 21st centuries, religion has begun to be replaced by data as the most efficient and trustworthy source for these answers.
The Pew Research Center, the minds behind NBCUniversal Integrated Media’s The Curve Report, and the team at PSFK Labs have undertaken a deep and thorough analysis of this new trend, discovering how and why data is being elevated to a new source of self-knowledge, a way to understand the world, and an answer to some of life’s biggest questions. The Curve Report writes: “New tracking technologies, from Instagram to Fitbit to Google Earth, are giving rise to a new alternative spirituality that we’re calling the Counter Culture. Data isn’t the new oil—it’s the new religion.”
PSFK Labs elaborates even more: “88% of Gen Xers and Ys agree that personal tracking and documenting web sites and devices have made them more self-aware, and 64% say technology makes them a better person. Additionally, as many as 81% say that technology helps them better understand the world at large; it would seem that Gen Xers and Ys are seeking meaning in their existence, and believe that data and technology can provide it. This new faith is becoming a religion unto itself, as more and more people are turning to technology to answer life’s larger questions.”
PSFK Labs also explains that according to new research, “65% of Gen Xers and Ys believe that personal belief will be more relevant than the church 10 years from now, and 60% say they sometimes use Google to help them find answers to big life questions. When faced with life’s larger existential questions, coming generations are finding personal data to be a compelling new lens through which to view themselves, that is backed up by quantifiable metrics which provide a higher level of awareness about our existence.” To learn more about how Gen Xers and Ys are forging a close and spiritual connection with their personal data be sure to visit PSFK.com for more statistics, as well as TheCurveReport.com and the PewForum.org.
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