1 in 4 would be happy with ‘brain implants’

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A quarter of people (24%) would be happy to see technology implanted in their brain to help them communicate, reveals research from price comparison site Uswitch.com,
as it examines changes to technology since the year 2000.

Brain implants like Elon Musk’s proposed Neuralink will let us control our gadgets with our thoughts and communicate at lightning-fast speeds by 2040, predict experts from Uswitch.com.

Consumers are spending more on gadgets than ever, with the value of household devices rising 150% 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 (53%), three in ten (29%) own a smart speaker like Alexa or Google Home and 18% have a smartwatch.

Devices in the average modern home are now worth £8,500, up 150% 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 (79%), with landline phones (73%) and mobile phones (59%) the next most popular devices. Analogue music players like Walkmans were found in a third of houses (32%), and electronic pets called Tamagotchis were cared for in one in ten (12%).

Table – biggest rise and fall in ownership from 2000 to 2020

Device

Increase

 

Device

Decrease

Laptop computer

33%

 

Video (VHS) player

-35%

Router

25%

 

Walkman (or analogue music player, CD or tapes)

-25%

Electric toothbrush

24%

 

Stereo

-22%

Mobile phone

14%

 

Film camera

-20%

Digital camera

12%

 

Desktop computer

-15%

Source: Uswitch.com

Half of consumers (50%) say they don’t 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 (7%) saying it was the piece of technology from 2000 they missed most. Music cassettes and VHS tapes were next most-missed, among 6% of people.

Table – ownership of new gadgets since 2000

New gadgets

Percentage of households

Tablet computer

56%

Smart television

53%

Wireless headphones 

34%

E-reader (e.g Amazon Kindle)

32%

Bluetooth speaker

30%

Smart speaker (e.g Amazon Echo or Google Home)

29%

Blu-ray player

24%

Smartwatch

18%

Smart toothbrush

7%

Smart doorbell (eg Ring)

6%

Smart fridge

4%

Source: Uswitch.com

Social media is the tech invention most disliked by consumers, with a third of people (33%) wishing that TikTok had never been created. Facebook (30%), Twitter (27%) and Instagram (23%) were similarly unpopular. 

Two-thirds of people (67%) say technology has made life easier over the last 20 years, and three quarters (78%) say it has helped them keep in touch with loved ones. However, less than half of people (45%) say technology has made the world a better place.

Consumers are most excited by the idea of 100Gbps broadband speeds for all in 20 years, with two thirds (69%) agreeing to this. 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 (52%) of people.

Uswitch.com reveals how household technology has changed since the year 2000, and will look 20 years from now, as it celebrates 20 years of helping consumers switch to better deals.

Comments Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com: 

“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.

“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. 

“Two-thirds of consumers are looking forward to the day when we can all enjoy broadband connections of 100Gbps, a speed that will help usher in truly smart homes and the rise of the Internet of Things.

“We’ve really enjoyed being part of people’s lives for the last 20 years – but it’s even more exciting to think what the next 20 years will bring. I wouldn’t be surprised to see devices linking our brains to machines to create an augmented reality, allowing us to access the internet or communicate with others using only our mind.”

Find out how our household technology will change 20 years into the future here.

Chris Price
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