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Trust study: Californians don’t like tech as much (they really don’t like tech as much)

A new survey shows Bay Area residents are warier than before about its homegrown industry.

Trump Holds Summit With Technology Industry Leaders
Here are some of the techies that those surveyed think need to step up.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

People living in California trust their homegrown tech industry a lot less than last year. They also think the rich get richer without helping anyone else and that tech needs more regulations and less tax breaks.

And those surveyed want tech to do something about all the societal and local problems they cause, including retraining those whose jobs have been made obsolete by technology and even improving traffic.

That’s according to Edelman’s new annual Trust Barometer of trends globally and in California, which was discussed earlier today at an event I moderated in San Francisco. The firm polled over 1,600 people in late January in California.

Trust of the tech sector in the state dropped three points from last year — from 66 percent to 63 percent. While that is the highest among all key industries, also high is that 59 percent of the respondents said that rich techies are sucking up all the wealth and are not helping others while doing it. And 62 percent think tax breaks for tech companies need to be reduced and even eliminated.

In the Bay Area, the heart of tech, 68 percent of those surveyed said that tech was now “part of corporate America,” 59 percent said the industry had been under-regulated and 57 percent said that tech leaders did not “speak for them.”

Also worth noting, because they are key tenets of President Donald J. Trump, 78 percent support increased taxes on tech companies that move their manufacturing overseas and 66 percent think they should reduce the number of skilled workers brought in from other countries to work at American companies. It should be said that runs counter to the massive demonstrations and loud tech company pushback that took place in the region after Trump launched his immigration ban aimed at seven Muslim-majority countries.

Globally, although it remained flattish, tech remains the most trusted industry of all, doing much better than others like manufacturing and retail. Less trusted sectors of tech are many, though, including a wariness of self-driving cars, blockchain technology and even cloud storage.

In related news, Edelman has hired well-known comms exec Natalie “Nat” Kerris as its global chair of its technology sector. Kerris worked at Apple for many years and then did a short stint at Twitter.

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