Mixed views of how tech will impact future wellbeing 12 September 2016

UK – The UK public are willing to welcome future tech into many parts of their lives, especially in healthcare, but remain concerned about it leading to greater isolation according to research from Nesta.

The innovation foundation commissioned ComRes to interview more than 1,000 adults in each of the UK, France, Germany, Spain, US and Australia.

Sixty per cent of Brits said they expect technology will improve their future wellbeing and 77% said that healthcare should be the focus of technological advancements ( compared with 29% who said space exploration ).

Asked to imagine the world in 2036, almost half of those questioned ( 49% ) said DNA sequencing and editing presented an opportunity while 68% thought technology was an opportunity for food production.

Around a third of Londoners said they would be micro-chipped to access their work devices and homes ( 36% ), eat meals in pill form ( 28% ) and take part in pheromone or DNA-matched dating ( 27% ).

However, more than half of Brits ( 53% ) worried that people will become more isolated and only 28% expect technology to have a positive impact on levels of employment. Overall, only one-fifth ( 22% ) of people said that they were optimistic about the future.

Across Europe, the research showed people are even more sceptical about how technology will affect their lives. Around a third ( 31% ) of Spanish people said technology will mean the breakdown of trust in society; more than half ( 52% ) of French thought it will have a negative impact on employment, and a third considered robotics to be a threat.

The research as released ahead of FutureFest, a weekend festival of radical talks and immersive experiences taking place at London’s Tobacco Dock ( 17-18 September ).