August 30, 2018
Having turned 50 years old this year, Intel released a report on the Next 50, which highlights the thoughts of 1,000 consumers about the future of technology. The report, which was conducted with research firm PSB, revealed that though Americans are enthused about technology’s future potential, 40 percent of them believe it will also introduce as many new problems as solutions. Consumers were most excited about familiar technologies, including smartphones (87 percent), PCs (84 percent) and smart home technology (84 percent).
VentureBeat reports that, according to Australian National University professor Genevieve Bell, who directs the 3A Institute and is a vice president/senior fellow at Intel, “newer, emerging technologies like AI and 5G are abstract, and harder to grasp, likely leading to anxiety around what they may bring.” The most appealing new technologies, said the report, are those related to health improvements: “genomic medicine (39 percent) and artificial materials for organ or tissue transplants (26 percent), as well as renewable energy (36 percent).”
Millennials and their parents were enthused over artificial intelligence, with 51 percent of parents expecting that AI would automate daily tasks, versus 38 percent of non-parents; likewise 42 percent of parents thought AI would predict their needs versus 30 percent of non-parents. Although AI-empowered devices such as voice assistants already permeate many people’s lives, 36 percent of consumers “think they do not own any technologies that use AI.”
Many interviewed consumers fear developing an overdependence on technology and spending less time interacting with others (56 percent) although 53 percent of them already “rely heavily on technology to stay in touch with friends and family.” Underlining this, 37 percent of consumers and 38 percent of “tech elites are concerned people may be isolated from one another when they use technology.”
Of other technologies, 61 percent of consumers are excited about 5G networks, with 45 percent of millennials “saying it will bring people closer together by helping them to always be connected, as opposed to 35 percent for those aged 35 and older.” Although only 18 percent of consumers “heavily” use smart home technologies, 69 percent believe they will do so in the next 50 years.
PSB’s research consisted of an online quantitative study from May 9 to May 20, 2018 among the U.S. general public; all “tech elites” were “ages 25 years or older with at least a college education, a household income of at least $100,000, and followed technology closely.” The margin of error for the general public total sample is +/- 2.53 percent.