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It’s All Up In Your Head!
IEEE Internet of Things Survey Reports Mind Control Will Be the Technology of Choice in Ten Years

8 April 2015 - IEEE released global survey results indicating that the human mind will be the technology of choice to control devices used in everyday life in 2025. Results from the survey, which had a sample of more than 3,000 technology enthusiasts, note a decline in the significance of cell phones and mobile devices as the primary means of controlling technology and highlight autonomous vehicles as the preferred mode of transportation in the future.

“As technology evolves, it becomes more and more integrated with our daily lives, and its physical presence shrinks,” said IEEE member Diogo Mónica, security lead at Docker. “Consumer technology is advancing beyond the constraints of mobile devices to wearable form factors, and the next step in this evolution will be the ability to control technology in a hands-free way using brainpower alone. As a growing number of connected devices produces ongoing flows of data, security measures will need to keep pace to protect personal and corporate information as it travels over the IoT network.”

Open Sesame
As consumer demand for mind-controlled devices rises, many aspects of the home of the future will be programmed to read individuals’ directives from their brainwaves. Survey respondents consistently noted mind-control applications as the preferred means of completing tasks at home such as opening a front door, using kitchen appliances, turning off the lights and playing video games. Key findings of the survey include:

• 35% of the respondents who voted on how they would like to open their front door in ten years selected using mind control as their top preference, more than biometrics, retina scanner, cell phone, motion or manually.
• Three out of every ten respondents (35%) who selected their preference for controlling their kitchen appliances in ten years chose mind-control and (24%) chose cell phone/mobile devices. Technology doesn’t totally take over the kitchen because more than 1/4 of respondents (26%) still want to cook manually (27% of men vs. 22% women).
• More than 1/3 of survey participants who selected a preference would like to control the lights in their home through mind control in 2025, followed closely by cell phone/mobile controller (30%) and motion sensor (27%). Only 8% of the respondents who selected how they would they would like to control the lights in their home indicated that they would like to do it manually in ten years. 

Men Are From Venus, Women Are From Venus
Survey results indicate that when it comes to technology, men and women can agree on how they want to use devices in their everyday lives. Both genders reported similar responses overall, with near-identical responses on how individuals choose to open their front door and turn off their lights when they come home in 2025. The growing trust in and dependence on technology is universal, paving the way for smooth integration of connected device technology into the everyday life.

Driverless Cars
Technology use outside of the home will also change significantly with an increased reliance on driverless vehicles for transportation. While men and women responded similarly to most survey questions, they were extremely different when selecting their preferred method of driving in ten years. Nearly 60% percent of women would like to manually control their cars, while only 27% of men selected similarly. However, the majority of men (56%) would like their driving experience to be autonomous, while only 12% of the women had the same preference.

“The development of autonomous vehicles has progressed significantly with technology enhancements and improved intelligent environmental understanding,” said Alberto Broggi, IEEE Fellow, professor of computer engineering at the University of Parma in Italy and founder of VisLab. “Trust in the technology will be a strong driver of adoption, and these survey results show we’re making headway in building consumer trust for the future.”

The Cell Phone’s Demise
The expansion of the Internet of Things and connected devices prefaces a shift away from cell phones and mobile devices as the go-to technology. Less than 1/3 of respondents indicated plans to use their cell phones to control their front doors, kitchen appliances, and lights in 2025. “We’re starting to see wearable devices with cell phone-like qualities, like the smartwatch, come to market to meet demands for seamless technology integration,” said William Webb, IEEE Fellow and CEO of the Weightless SIG. “As people become more comfortable with using wearables to power elements of their daily routine, we’ll see them move away from their cell phones and other handheld devices toward hands-free technology that allows them to be more efficient and productive. This shift will likely begin in industrial applications in the next five years and migrate steadily to consumers in the next decade.”

Additional IEEE Resources:
The Cybersecurity Initiative
The Big Data Initiative

About This Survey
This survey was made available to attendees of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, as well as members of IEEE’s social communities between 2 March and 6 March 2015. The total sample size was more than 3,000. The survey consisted of five multiple-choice questions that asked respondents to select their preferred method of controlling the following items in the year 2025:

- Unlocking their front door: n= 2,078
- Kitchen appliances: n= 1,921
- Turning on/off electronics and lights: n= 1,817
- Controlling/driving a car: n= 1,758
- Playing video games: n= 1,679

 

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