25% of young UK people happy to date a robot

Tech Me Out: a new survey says a quarter of young people would happily date a robot


The future looks as if it’s going to be weird. A new report to mark from ComRes research to the launch of FutureFest 2016 says that 26% of young people (aged 18-34) in the UK said that they would happily date a robot – provided their android partner looked just like a real-life human being.

There may be more digital shocks in store. One third (34%) of people in the UK say they would be microchipped at work if their privacy was 100% guaranteed, but more than half (62%) say that they would not swap an analogue meal for a digital pill.

Moreover, 50% of Brits who already use contactless bank cards say that they would be happy to have microchips implanted under their skin to open doors or log on at work, and a third (32%) of all British adults believe that in 50 years’ time the sale of fizzy drinks to under-16s will be as tightly controlled as tobacco is today.

Such research naturally has an agenda when promoting a conference that will discuss the future, but the Generation Gap is likely to become much wider as the proliferation of robots

“As humans, we are all born with our own in-built crystal ball about the future. It’s in our nature to have dreams and schemes about better and more exciting worlds to come. We’re exploring playful, emotional and working futures – using world-class speakers, new commissions and installations, and a range of opportunities for our super-smart audiences,” said Pat Kane, Curator of the Play theme at this year’s event.

Since its inaugural event in 2013, FutureFest has hosted Dame Vivienne Westwood in conversation with Edward Snowden, legendary funk musician George Clinton, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales, author Jon Ronson, social entrepreneur and model Lily Cole, amongs others.

I, meanwhile, have yet to receive my speaking invitation. Still, they can always use a robot, nobody would be able to tell.

SMEs suffer £1 billion funding gap, despite £126 billion in untapped private investor finance

More than a third of investors with £100,000 would invest in the UK’s SMEs but do know enough about funding to do so


According to a report from IW Capital, 34% of the UK’s serious investors would invest in SMEs but do not have the knowledge about funding to do so. This equates to £126 billion in untapped private investment funds.

The lack of awareness is despite the fact that 71% of private investors with more than £40,000 worth of investments feel confident in the growth capabilities of UK SMEs and 54% are looking to the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) for the new tax year.

This is despite David Cameron’s 2015 pledge to fill a £1 billion funding gap that is preventing the growth of UK SMEs, caused in part by institutional lending reducing at a rate of £5.7 million a day.

George Osborne’s latest Spring Budget focused heavily on the micro-businesses of Britain’s private sector, but did not do enough to educate high-net-worth individuals as to how they can invest in upscaling SMEs.

Given the high levels of confidence and subsequent intentions ahead of the imminent new tax year on April 6th, the research further analysed investor sentiment towards one of the last private equity initiatives supporting SMEs – EIS.

There are 64% of investors who intend to invest between £100,001 and £250,000 looking to this scheme for their investment plans. Moreover, 54% of investors with more than £40,000 in portfolio size (not including their mortgage or pensionable assets) will do so imminently for the 2016/17 financial year.

Accounting for 16% of the UK taxpayer population, this high-earner group contributes a disproportionate 67% of the country’s income tax bill. IW Capital’s research of 2,000 relevant people examines just how much income tax the UK’s high-earners pay in comparison to the national average, with a focus on specific investor sentiment towards EIS.

Safety tech now in half of UK’s new cars sold

A new study says that more than 1.5 million British new car buyers benefit from semi-autonomous safety technology including autonomous braking.

safetySafety and the nature of driving is changing and so are we. While self-driving cars are probably further away than the marketeers would like, more than 1.5 million UK motorists a year now own cars that feature self-activating safety systems.

New data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and JATO Dynamics says that more than half of new cars registered in 2015 were fitted with safety-enhancing collision warning systems, with other technologies such as adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and blind spot monitoring also surging in popularity.

While many, including this writer, would prefer to drive rather than be driven, they are becoming the minority. Features such as collision warning systems, were fitted to 58.1% of Britain’s record new car market in 2015, whether as standard or a cost option. In contrast, just five years ago collision warning featured on only 6.8% of new cars registered.

Autonomous emergency braking, which automatically applies the brakes to avoid or reduce the effects of an impact should the driver fail to react, was fitted to more than 1 million (39%) of all new cars registered – with 18% of buyers getting the safety tech as standard.

Blind spot monitoring was a feature of more than a third of new cars, while adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts the car’s speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead, was fitted to almost a third (31.7%) of new cars registered, either as standard or an option. Just five years ago, less than 10% of new cars were available with this technology.

“Connected and autonomous cars will transform our society, vastly improving safety and reducing congestion and emissions, and will contribute billions to the economy. The UK is already earning a reputation as a global development hub in this field, thanks to significant industry and government investment, and the ability to trial these cars on the roads right now,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT CEO.