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June 20, 2016

London Technology Week launches with predictions of robots, drone pizza and commercial space flights

News: Digital also set to add $2tr by 2020 to world’s economy.

By Joao Lima

London Technology Week has kicked off today with Brits predicting a future built on VR healthcare, company boards replaced by robots, drone pizza deliveries and commercial space flights.

A survey of 2,077 British adults from London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s promotional company, has revealed that the majority of the population is aware of the technological advancements of recent years.

According to Accenture’s 2016 Digital Multiplier Report, the digital economy is set to boost global economic output by $2tr by 2020, fostered by the development and adoption of new technologies.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "London Technology Week shines a light on this hugely important sector of the economy and demonstrates how our city is open to trade, ideas and people from across the globe. Tech-savvy Londoners welcome new digital advances that are going to revolutionise the way that we live and it is crucial that we harness those ideas to help the capital work even better as a city.

"As someone who has helped to run a successful business, I look forward to supporting the tech sector so it goes from strength to strength over the coming years."

One of the biggest findings in the survey is around healthcare. A large majority of people thinks that by 2036 they will no longer have to physically visit their doctor. 62% think doctors’ appointments will be routinely conducted via VR.

Brits are also conscious about the developments in the 3D printing space, and 53% expect that over the next two decades the technology will evolve to print human organs.

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Furthermore, 41% think the world’s first human cloned baby will have been born by 2036.

Elsewhere, UK technology consumers are aware of the growth in the number of robots and machines being used and how they will grow to outpace the human race.

23% Brits think the first AI machine could serve on the board of big companies within 20 years. 23% think robots could replace chief executives in the boardroom.

AI avatars are also set to disrupt relationships as 19% of Brits think avatar girlfriends and boyfriends could be commonplace.

In addition, 14% of respondents think robots will outnumber human beings by 2036.

Technology developments in the banking sector have also not gone unnoticed. 68% of those surveyed think physical money will be fully replaced by cashless technologies within the next 20 years.

In the automotive space, although 2040 is expected to be the year when such technologies take over from more common ones, 51% of respondents believe there will be more driverless cars on major roads than ‘regular’ vehicles as early as 2036.

In regards to commercial space flights, 37% of Brits think these will be taking off from major airports such as Heathrow or Gatwick.

Elsewhere, while wearables purchases increased 118% in 2015 compared to 2014, 37% of those taking part in the survey think that these technologies will eventually become embedded in the human body itself. 57% think people will regularly wear clothing connected to the internet.

Lastly, drone deliveries are also expected to be commonplace in 20 years, as five in ten respondents believe drone pizza delivery will be considered normal.

The survey was commissioned ahead of London Technology Week, and was inspired by a series of predictions put forward by Imperial College London’s Tech Foresight research team.

Professor David Gann, Innovation VP at Imperial College London, said: "No city in the world enjoys London’s quotient of talent, technology culture and capital. It is a potent combination.

"London is an environment where ideas flourish, design and innovation is embraced and new technologies are transforming our lives for the better. In London, we do not stand still."

This year’s London Technology Week will focus on London as a centre for the convergence of disruptive technologies and their impact on traditional industries such as fashion, music, financial services and healthcare.

Gordon Innes CEO of London & Partners, said: "London is a world-class destination for culture, science, business and technology. When you combine this with our strong culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, London has the perfect conditions for the convergence of disruptive technologies with traditional industries."

Eileen Burbidge MBE, Partner at Passion Capital and Chair of Tech City UK, said: "As a truly international city, London is one of the world’s largest, most inclusive and diverse technology hubs with a range of opportunities for talent of all backgrounds."

She also said that we are already seeing technology disrupting traditional industries, but in years to come we will no longer be talking about the digital tech sector in isolation. Technology and digital will be integrated into every part of the economy.

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