According to a new Pew Research survey, Americans are cautiously optimistic about what the future of technology holds. The survey found that 59 percent of Americans think future technologies will make the world a better place, while just 30 percent think new developments will leave the world worse off.
Most people living today are acutely aware of the breakneck speed at which technology is evolving, and this awareness was reflected in the survey's results. Here's how people answered when asked what new developments they think will take place in the next 50 years.
81 percent of surveyed participants think replacement organs will be custom grown in laboratories by the year 2064. 51 percent of people think computers will be able to create paintings, novels, and music that is indecipherable from creative works made by humans. 39 percent think scientists will have solved teleportation, and 33 percent believe humans will have established long-term space colonies. 20 percent of people think humans will control the weather by 2064.
In addition to questions about future technologies, participants were asked for their opinions on whether certain tech developments would make the world a better or worse place. This is where the majority of people displayed a healthy skepticism about the future.
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65 percent of people think robot caretakers for the elderly and disabled would make the world a worse place (side note: Japan already uses robots for this exact purpose). 66 percent of respondents think the world would be worse off if parents could alter the DNA of their prospective children. 63 percent think the world would suffer if airspace was opened up to personal drones. Finally, 53 percent of people think the use of digital devices to constantly display information to people in real time would make the world a worse place.
Some more interesting finds from the survey: 48 percent of people said they would be open to traveling in a driverless car. 72 percent of people would oppose using brain implants to improve mental capacity and performance. 78 percent of people say they would not eat genetically engineered meat grown in a laboratory.
As you’d expect, young people (ages 18-29) were the most excited about the future of technology. Meanwhile, 41 percent of people ages 65+ could not even think of one possible future technology they would enjoy using.
Source: Pew Research Internet Project