Future technologies: Friend or foe?

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  • What will the future look like, and how will be it be shaped by new and emerging technologies? Well, according to new research from Nesta, 60% of people in the UK believe new technological innovations will improve their future wellbeing.

    In the run up to Nesta’s FutureFest event, which will take place on 17th and 18th September in London’s Tabacco Dock, the innovation foundation commissioned market research agency, ComRes, to explore how consumers in the UK feel about emerging technologies, such as augmented reality, driverless cars and artificial intelligence, and whether they believe the future innovations that will be developed within the next 20 years will be beneficial to their lives.

    Many of the responses were upbeat: almost half of respondents (49%) said DNA sequencing and editing represents a future opportunity for the healthcare sector, while 68% think future technologies will help to improve food production. Around a third (36%) of those surveyed in London said they would be willing to be microchipped in order to secure access to their work devices and homes, while 28% were open to eating meals in pill form and 27% were up for dating a partner they were paired up with through pheromone or DNA-matching.

    The responses did identify a number of recurring concerns, though. 53% of respondents felt the UK’s growing digitisation could lead to people feeling more isolated, while just 28% of people felt future technologies (such as robotics and artificial intelligence) will have a positive impact on employment in the UK.

    Explaining Nesta’s motivation behind the FutureFest event, Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, said: “A flood of new technologies is set to change our daily lives - from self-driving cars to implants, gene testing to augmented reality. FutureFest gives us all a chance to explore, see and feel what's around the corner so that we can shape a future that fits our needs rather than just being passive observers and consumers.”

    Budding futurists, trend analysts and technologists can get their hands on a ticket to Nesta’s weekend-long event at FutureFest.org.

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