Brain implants welcomed to control gadgets

A quarter of people would be happy to see technology implanted in human bodies by the year 2040 to help us communicate - despite wishing advances such as social media had never been created.

Thursday, 17th September 2020, 7:30 am
Implantable tech like Elon Musk's Neuralink would be popular with a quarter of those polled.

People polled welcomed brain implants like Tesla boss Elon Musk’s proposed Neuralink, which they hope will let us control our gadgets with our thoughts and communicate at lightning-fast speeds by 2040.

The study, which examines changes to technology since the year 2000 and looking ahead to 2040, also found that consumers mourn the loss of TV information system Ceefax, music cassettes and VHS tapes.

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Meanwhile, social media is the invention that most people wish had never been invented, according to the poll by uSwitch.com, with 33 per cent of consumers regretting the rise of TikTok.

Consumers are spending more on gadgets than ever, with the value of household devices rising 150 per cent since the year 2000 - despite the cost of computers and televisions falling during that time.

Modern households now have 11 gadgets on average, with seven connecting to the internet. Half of homes have a smart TV, three in ten own a smart speaker like Alexa or Google Home and 18 per cent have a smart watch.

Devices in the average modern home are now worth £8,500, up 150 per cent from £3,400 in the year 2000, when consumers typically had eight gadgets.

At that time, televisions were found in eight out of ten homes, with landline phones and mobile phones the next most popular devices. Analogue music players like Walkmans were found in a third of houses, and electronic pets called Tamagotchis were cared for in one in ten.

Half of consumers say they do not miss any devices from the turn of the millennium, but others are most nostalgic about the loss of television text service Ceefax, which stopped broadcasting in 2012, with nearly one in ten people saying it was the piece of technology from 2000 they missed most. Music cassettes and VHS tapes were next most-missed, among 6 per cent of people.

Two thirds of people say technology has made life easier over the last 20 years.

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com, said: “Household gadgets have come a long way since the year 2000, when mobile phones were a novelty and we were only just discovering the joys of the internet.

“It was a simpler time of Tamagotchis, Walkmans and Ceefax. Now we can browse the web from the smartphones in our pocket and watch television or films on the go.”

He added: “Today, many devices we have around the house are connected directly to the internet, with households boasting smart speakers, smart fridges, and even smart toothbrushes.”

Consumers are most interested by the futuristic idea of 100Gbps broadband speeds for all in 20 years, with two thirds agreeing to this as a positive development. Next most popular were fake trees that scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and doors that operate based on fingerprint or facial recognition, both welcomed by over half of people.

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