Public Predicts How Tech Will Alter Our Lives in Next 20 Years

Though the biggest story in Europe this week is the upcoming “Brexit” vote about whether the UK will leave the European Union, there are also two big business-world events going on across the continent.

In the South of France, the narcissists of the advertising world are gathering for their annual back-slapping mutual admiration confab, the Cannes Lions, which honors the “best” in marketing. We won’t be writing about that, don’t worry.

In Britain, however, today is the launch of London Technology Week, and, in conjunction, the city’s Daily Mail newspaper has released the results of a recent poll of the country’s citizens, displaying their expectations of how technology is going to continue its rapid evolution of society and human interaction, and how things are going to look in 2036, 20 years out.

While Brits’ opinions aren’t guaranteed to mirror Americans, they’re usually a harbinger of feelings that will be emulated across the pond, particularly as the world becomes more and more a global village. A lot of the findings sound a lot like what we’d hear from Americans. For example:

  • 62 per cent think doctors' appointments will be routinely conducted via virtual reality
  • 57 per cent think people will regularly wear clothing connected to the internet
  • 53 per cent think 3D printing will be used to produce human organs
  • 41 per cent think the world's first human cloned baby will have been born
  • 37 per cent think communications devices will be embedded inside the human body
  • 37 per cent think commercial space flights could take off from major airports
  • 23 per cent think the first artificial intelligence machine could serve on the board of big companies
  • 23 per cent think robots could replace chief executives in the boardroom
  • 19 per cent think avatar girlfriends and boyfriends could be commonplace

Considering it’s 20 years out, and 20 years ago we were still using dial-up, none of these seem inconceivable, though we wonder how they’re going to get the prices down low enough for commercial space flights (not to mention those pesky Van Allen Belts), and not sure how 3D printing will create a flesh-friendly replacement organ.

Still, the poll provides good insight to public’s (mostly) clear-eyed view of the rapid pace of technological change, as well as map for savvy CTOs to navigate when it comes to the expectations of humanity. Plus, the Daily Mail is always a fun read in general.