Grey robot

A brief history of... future technologies

The eminent cosmologist Stephen Hawking has stated that the human race faces one of its most dangerous centuries ever due to our significant progress in science and technology becoming a greater threat to human existence.

Speaking ahead of his BBC Reith Lecture where he explained the science of black holes, Hawking commented “We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it so we must recognise the dangers and control them.”

Hawking’s focus is very much on trend. You’ve probably noticed how the topic of “future technologies” has become something of a staple in the news, with noted experts commentating on how these technologies might or not benefit the human race in the near future. Robots are seemingly getting most coverage and not all of it is positive. A recent report published by the World Economic Forum stated that the world is in the middle of a ‘fourth industrial revolution’ and Artificial Intelligence and robotics in particular are set to cause ‘widespread disruption’ in the workplace by 2020.

Here in the present we’re all seemingly addicted to wearable technology, whether it be activity trackers, smartwatches or health related wearables. The take-up of this technology isn’t just confined to our personal needs either, more and more companies are interested in offering health programs where employees might get discounts if they track their own activity; “employer wellness programs” might be a phrase we here more of in the future. 

At RbD we’ve tapped into this trend for understanding and predicting the impact of technologies. A recent study with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) sought to measure consumers’ current understanding and acceptance of new technologies and identify barriers to future engagement.

The study was undertaken in two phases with a qualitative consultation preceding an in-depth quantitative study - Look out for part two of this blog which shares more details from this study.

By Richard Mace, Associate Director

This entry was posted in Technology, tagged Technology and posted on February 16, 2016

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