Brits embrace the future: 60% think technology will improve their future wellbeing

  • Brits are overwhelmingly positive about the impact of future technology on their lives
  • Almost half back further research into DNA sequencing and editing, while over a third of Londoners say they would be microchipped
  • European neighbours are less optimistic about future tech - French people believe it will lead to unemployment and Spaniards worry it will lead to breakdown of trust

Ahead of FutureFest 2016, new research* shows the UK public are ready to welcome future tech into many areas of their lives, with 60% saying they expect technology will improve their future wellbeing; 77% say that healthcare should be the focus of technological advancement - that’s almost double those who think it should be space exploration (29%).

Hosted by the innovation foundation Nesta, FutureFest is a weekend festival of radical talks and immersive experiences taking place at London’s Tobacco Dock (17-18 September). The two-day event will bring to life the groundbreaking trends and technology shaping our world, and explore how we’ll live, love, thrive and play 20 years from now. Visitors will have the chance to find out what type of future-thinker they are through a special interactive quiz at the festival or online.

Asked to imagine the world in 2036, almost half of those questioned (49%) said DNA sequencing and editing presents an opportunity to be explored further whilst 68% think technology presents an opportunity for food production. Around a third of Londoners said they would be microchipped to access their work devices and homes (36%), eat meals in pill form (28%) and take part in pheromone or DNA-matched dating (27%).

Yet despite the UK public’s enthusiasm for technology, the research did reveal some misgivings. More than half of Brits (53%) worry that people will become more and more isolated and only 28% expect technology to have a positive impact on levels of employment. Overall, just over one-fifth (22%) of people said that they were optimistic about the future.

Across Europe, research shows people are even more sceptical about how technology will affect their lives. Around a third (31%) of Spanish people believe that technology will mean the breakdown of trust in society; over half (52%) of French think that it will have a negative impact on employment, and a third consider robotics to be a threat. Meanwhile, only 13% of German people were likely to say they would replace meals with pills or pick a love match based on DNA or pheromone compatibility.

FutureFest 2016 will shine a light on the future of work and society, and bring to life the food and dating trends of tomorrow through a series of unique presentations and panels. The weekend lineup includes electronic music pioneer Brian Eno, outspoken author Will Self, trailblazing video game writer Rhianna Pratchett and Olivier-winning stage designer ES Devlin.

Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, said: “A flood of new technologies is set to change our daily lives - from self-driving cars to implants, gene testing to augmented reality. FutureFest gives us all a chance to explore, see and feel what's around the corner so that we can shape a future that fits our needs rather than just being passive observers and consumers.”

Weekend passes to FutureFest 2016 at Tobacco Dock are still available for £80, day passes are £50 each (student discount available). For full lineup details and ticket sales visit

FutureFest is supported by innovation partner Nissan and the University of Greenwich, Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford, D3 Technologies, EUNIC London, Harvey&John,, Sedition and venue host Tobacco Dock.


*ComRes interviewed 1,002 UK adults, 1,004 French adults, 1,001 German adults, 1,000 Spanish adults, 1,004 US adults and 1,007 Australian adults online between 15th and 29th April 2016. Data were weighted by age, gender, region and income to be representative of all adults in each country. Data were weighted by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade to be representative of all British adults aged 18+ The research was commissioned by Nesta. The question on optimism about the future was rerun just in the UK by surveying 1,001 UK adults online between 9th and 18th August 2016. The proportion of Britons optimistic about the future (22%) was broadly consistent with the proportion optimistic in April (19%).

About FutureFest: ( FutureFest is a weekend festival of immersive experiences, compelling performances and radical speakers to excite and challenge perceptions of the future. Taking place every 18 months, FutureFest is hosted by Nesta, the innovation foundation, in London.

About Nesta: ( is the UK's innovation foundation. We help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. We are an independent charity and our work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery. Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833.

For further information on FutureFest contact:

Kasia Murphy, Nesta press office

T: +44 2074382543 / E: [email protected] or [email protected]

Notes to editors

  • For FutureFest 2016 press passes and filming requests please register your interest with the Nesta press office team at [email protected] / 020 7438 2543
  • Interviews with Nesta spokespeople and the four event curators, per theme - body technologist Ghislaine Boddington (Future Love), British entrepreneur and inventor Ruth Amos (Future Work), food futurologist Dr. Morgaine Gaye (Future Thrive) and musician and writer Pat Kane (Future Play, and lead curator of FutureFest 2013/2015) - available on request
  • Images of speakers, curators and past events available on request.

Ticket information 
Full weekend ticket for both Saturday and Sunday - £80.00
Saturday 17th September 2016 - £50.00 day ticket
Sunday 18th September 2016 - £50.00 day ticket
Concession for students with valid NUS card - £40.00 for Weekend or £25.00 for Single Day

All listed costs are inclusive of VAT but exclusive of ticketing handling and card processing fees.
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