MORE THAN one in three Irish people and almost half of 19-24 year olds believe they could not live without Wi-Fi, according to a new national survey.
BT Ireland asked 1,200 people across Ireland – ranging in age from 12 to 55 – about their perceptions of science and technology to determine the differences in views across the generations.
Mobile phones came a close second in the dependency rankings at 28%, with one in three people aged between 25-39 years old proving most attached to their devices.
Interestingly, one in four of those surveyed said they could not live without online services such as online banking, storage or shopping apps – the highest proportion of which were 40 and over, showcasing the different priorities across age demographics.
On what progress they would like to see in the future thanks to science and technology, a majority of 12 to 24-year-olds – Generation Z – would like to see them used to tackle social and climate issues.
In contrast, 25 to 59-year-olds chose more functional advancements, with over one in three saying they would like to see greater use of AI in transport over the next 20 years.
The findings also show people aged 12 to 24 are the most interested in science and technology at 63% – while two thirds of this demographic also consider themselves to be "very well informed" on the latest scientific discoveries and technological developments, compared to just 28% of total respondents.
The survey's results were released on Tuesday to coincide with the announcement of the 2020 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) at Dublin's RDS from January 8 – 11 next year.
It will mark BT Ireland's 20th year as organiser and lead sponsor of the event, which is the longest running science and technology event in Europe.
Joe McHugh, Minister for Education & Skills, urged second level students to participate in BTYSTE 2020.
"It is encouraging to see so many young people develop an interest in the big issues affecting our lives today and into the future," he said.
"The focus Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) through their participation in the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition and The Primary Science Fair provides an unbeatable bedrock for their studies and career paths.
"It is always heartening to see parents, teachers and schools put greater emphasis on the merits of science and technology in recent years, and initiatives such as this play a crucial role in raising awareness and participation in science and technology."
Managing director of BT Ireland, Shay Walsh, encouraged every school in the country to get students involved.
"What they create today will shape the world we live in tomorrow, and that’s a very exciting prospect," he said.