• Erratic tech titans stress 23 million Americans, finds poll
• Young suffer “Titanxiety” way more than old
• Men suffer more than women; Americans more than Brits; and Midwesterners than other Americans
• AQ’s survey is not the only sign that tech bro billionaires are making us anxious
• TREND: Rise of the tech-bro super-villain in movies, TV, novels: the mad scientist has become the mad tech honcho and tech disruptor.
• The Oscar-nominated movie, The Glass Onion, is perfect example
Some 23 million Americans have felt anxiety over the words or deeds of unpredictable tech titans, reveals a new poll.
9% of U.S. adults – equivalent to 23 million – have experienced anxiety over the behavior of erratic tech barons and what they might say or do next, according to the survey of 1,274 Americans conducted by pollsters YouGov, on behalf of AQ, the new anxiety management app that tracks your mental health in real-time.
What AQ is dubbing “Titanxiety” strikes the young far more than the old, men more than women and Midwesterners more than other Americans.
Three times as many respondents aged 18-34 (12%) have felt such anxiety as those aged 55+ (4%).
It has also struck:
• Noticeably more men (13%) than women (9%)
• Way more Midwesterners (13%) than those in any other U.S. region, including over twice as many as those in the Northeast (6%).
• More Americans (9%) more than Brits (7%)
“Anxiety takes many forms, with different triggers”, says Dr. Shaun Nanavati, co-founder and Chief Science Officer of AQ, the anxiety management app. “The words and deeds of erratic tech titans is just one source of modern anxiety – out of an ever growing number.
“With so much power concentrated in so few hands, many people feel anxiety due to a sense of lack of control over their own lives,” adds Dr Nanavati.
By tracking your anxiety in real time, AQ helps you understand what in your environment might be triggering it – and then how either to avoid such triggers or better handle the resulting anxiety.
The rise of the tech-bro super villain in movies, TV
The new poll is not the only sign that tech bro billionaires are making us anxious.
Commentators have observed the growing trend for powerful tech CEOs to be cast as the baddies in movies and TV shows – or, the rise of the tech bro super-villain.
The latest example is Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, the movie up for an Oscar on March 12, which revolves around a wealthy tech CEO who plans to launch an alternative and risky hydrogen-based fuel before he’s revealed … to be an idiot.
Another example is The Santa Clauses, the new TV series spin-off of The Santa Claus movie franchise. When it premiered on Disney+ last November, the premise was that Santa was retiring and seeking a replacement, who turns out to be a tech bro, with a fiendish plan to introduce drone-based deliveries – in short, the man who “disrupted” Christmas, but not in a good way.
The 2021 movie, Don’t Look Up, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, features the turtlenecked billionaire tech CEO, Peter Isherwell, who derails the US government’s mission to space in favor of his own, while Free Guy, another 2021 movie, features the egotistical gaming CEO Antwan Hovachelik.
And same trend is even happening in novels.
Birnam Wood, the new novel of Eleanor Catton, recent winner of the prestigious Booker Prize, gives key role in her story to a tech billionaire baddie, who crosses paths with a bunch of green activists in a New Zealand national park.
TABLE: Modern Anxieties, Ranked by How Many U.S. Adults They Afflict
NOTE: The precise wording used in the poll questions to describe the type of anxiety triggered by tech barons was, in the case of this particular anxiety: “Anxiety over the behavior of powerful and unpredictable tech barons and what they might say or do next”.
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• Figures for how many millions of adult Americans have experienced particular anxieties were calculated by taking the percentage of poll respondents who had felt that particular anxiety and applying it to the total number of U.S. adults, age 18+ (258.3M) in the last U.S. Census (2020).
• AQ’s poll was not referring to anxiety as a diagnosed severe mental health condition but instead to mild to moderate feelings of anxiety that almost everyone experiences at different times.
Methodology: U.S. poll: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,247 U.S. adults. Fieldwork was undertaken online between January 25th-27th, 2023. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+).
Methodology: UK poll: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,095 UK adults. Fieldwork was undertaken online between 24th-25th January 2023. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).