Personal contact will remain prized even as individuals spend an increasing proportion of their time on-line, a leading futurologist has told our London Property Club event.

Tom Cheesewright predicted that the next ten years would see the transition to a new world in which the boundary between the digital and physical worlds becomes ‘seamless’.

He told the club that microchips’ ability to process ever increasing amounts of information means artificial intelligence is becoming incorporated into a growing proportion of everyday devices.

“The amount of information you can store for a pound has doubled every two years. It’s got to the point where we can make anything smart for about 50p.”

The proliferation of smart devices will mean less reliance on mobile phones, he said: “Within the lifetime of my children and certainly their children those two things will be inseparable and the idea that we see the digital world through a small window will be in the history books.”

“Even in this world there will be a premium on physical contact for all those senses that can’t be presented through a lens.”

And research into the habits of younger, so called digital natives, shows that they want transactions to be as smooth as possible, Cheesewright said: “People want to take friction out of their lives. Unless it’s something they really care about, it just needs to be automatic.

“I don’t get excited about buying a tin of tomatoes or toilet rolls. In the background, we will have an AI assistant gathering information from connected devices and taking decisions on our behalf.”

He added that councils are starting to use AI to save money and use less energy, giving bin lorries as an example that would only be sent to bins that are already full.

And building designers would be amongst the groups whose work would be transformed by the increased application of AI, Cheesewright said: “Computer aided design tools are starting to augment the capabilities of architects and designers.

“Given the parameters it will give thousands of possible solutions to choose from and then you can choose with your expertise which is the best.”

He also defended Google Glass, arguing that it was a ‘successful experiment’ rather than a ‘failed product’ because technology was insufficiently powerful when the devices went on the market.