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Kids predict a cool future

Life on Mars, robot housekeepers and jetpacks to school are among the exciting advancements children expect in the next 50 years, but not all is rosy.

According to children aged 5-11, the next 50 years will bring both exciting and wacky technological advancements, but they also have serious concerns about the impact of climate change.

These predictions come from a survey commissioned by BT in the United Kingdom, but the near-instant global spread of ideas via social networks means they are likely to be similar to children’s visions from many parts of the world.

The survey reveals that nearly half (44%) of UK children believe most of us will have self-driving cars, robots will do all the chores at home (42%), and we will wear watches that can tell when we’re unwell and what’s wrong with us (37%) in the next decade. While predictions for 2032 seem exciting yet feasible, children’s imaginations run wild when they consider what’s in store for 2072.

Looking fifty years into the future, more than a third of children envisage people will be living on other planets (34%), they expect there to be a cure for all diseases and illnesses (29%), and that there won’t be any more rubbish because everything will be recycled (35%). Not to mention, children of the future will be the envy of children today, as they are predicted to have robot teachers (32%) and fly to school on jetpacks (30%). 

Almost half (45%) of the children surveyed are excited about being able to fly to school rather than walk, and the opportunity to go on holiday to space. But 42% are also looking forward to the fun things they will do in the free time technology will give them because chores will be done by robots. 

The biggest concerns about the future for 5–11-year-olds are another pandemic (60%), more animals becoming extinct (50%) and climate change (48%). 

The survey has been released by BT following the December 2021 launch of its BT Group Manifesto, the company’s agenda for growth by using technology which is responsible, inclusive, and sustainable. BT commissioned A bright future to find out what the children of today predict for the world of tomorrow. In understanding the concern and hopes of the next generation, BT says, it aims to play its part in creating a bright, more sustainable future.

“Although BT has a long-standing history of being a responsible business, we are always looking ahead,” says Victoria Johnson, BT digital impact and sustainability director. “We need to create products and services that directly address the challenges faced by the communities and customers we serve, today and in the future. Our Manifesto outlines our ambitious goals for change, so to future-proof our approach, who better to consult than the next generation of changemakers?

“Children have an incredible capacity for creativity, and it’s both fascinating and encouraging to see some of the ways they think we can make the world more responsible, inclusive and sustainable. Whilst I’m sure many of us relish the prospect of robots doing our household chores, I think it’s equally exciting to see how invested the very youngest members of our society are in solving some of the biggest social and environmental issues the world is tackling, as reflected by the findings in A bright future.

The BT Group Manifesto covers three beliefs:

  1. Responsible: To provide better access to technology that earns trust and transforms lives
  2. Inclusive: To help the future of tech to be more inclusive and diverse
  3. Sustainable: To drive quicker progress towards a circular world with zero emissions
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