U.S. Views of Technology and the Future
Science in the next 50 years
The American public guesses that the approaching 50 years will be a time of significant logical change, as innovations that were once bound to the domain of sci-fi come into normal utilization. This is among the primary discoveries of another public study by the Seat Exploration Center and Smithsonian magazine, which got some information about many expected logical turns of events — from close term progresses like mechanical technology and bioengineering, to more “cutting edge” conceivable outcomes like instant transportation or space colonization. As well as getting some information about the drawn out fate of logical progression, we likewise requested that they share their own sentiments and perspectives toward a few new improvements that could become normal highlights of American life in the moderately not so distant future.
Overall, most Americans anticipate that the technological developments of the coming half-century will have a net positive impact on society. Some 59% are optimistic that coming technological and scientific changes will make life in the future better, while 30% think these changes will lead to a future in which people are worse off than they are today.
Numerous Americans pair their drawn out good faith with elevated standards for the creations of the following 50 years. Completely eight of every ten (81%) expect that inside the following 50 years individuals requiring new organs will have them uniquely filled in a lab, and half (51%) expect that PCs will actually want to make craftsmanship that is vague from that delivered by people. Then again, people in general sees cutoff points to what science can accomplish in the following 50 years. Less than half of Americans — 39% — expect that researchers will have fostered the innovation to magically transport items, and one of every three (33%) expect that people will have colonized planets other than Earth. Certain earthly difficulties are seen as much seriously overwhelming, as only 19% of Americans expect that people will actually want to control the climate within a reasonable time-frame.
But at the same time that many expect science to produce great breakthroughs in the coming decades, there are widespread concerns about some controversial technological developments that might occur on a shorter time horizon:
- 66% think it would be a change for the worse if prospective parents could alter the DNA of their children to produce smarter, healthier, or more athletic offspring.
- 65% think it would be a change for the worse if lifelike robots become the primary caregivers for the elderly and people in poor health.
- 63% think it would be a change for the worse if personal and commercial drones are given permission to fly through most U.S. airspace.
- 53% of Americans think it would be a change for the worse if most people wear implants or other devices that constantly show them information about the world around them. Women are especially wary of a future in which these devices are widespread.
Many Americans are also inclined to let others take the first step when it comes to trying out some potential new technologies that might emerge relatively soon. The public is evenly divided on whether or not they would like to ride in a driverless car: 48% would be interested, while 50% would not. But significant majorities say that they are not interested in getting a brain implant to improve their memory or mental capacity (26% would, 72% would not) or in eating meat that was grown in a lab (just 20% would like to do this).
Requested to depict in the most natural sounding way for them the advanced creations they, when all is said and done, might want to possess, the public offered three normal subjects: 1) travel upgrades like cars capable of flying and bicycles, or even private space makes; 2) time travel; and 3) wellbeing enhancements that broaden human life span or fix significant sicknesses.
At the same time, many Americans seem to feel happy with the technological inventions available to them in the here and now—11% answered this question by saying that there are no futuristic inventions that they would like to own, or that they are “not interested in futuristic inventions.” And 28% weren’t sure what sort of futuristic invention they might like to own.
These are among the findings of a new survey of Americans’ attitudes and expectations about the future of technological and scientific advancements, conducted by the Pew Research Center in partnership with Smithsonian magazine. The survey, conducted February 13–18, 2014 by landline and cell phones among 1,001 adults, examined a number of potential future developments in the field of science and technology—some just over the horizon, others more speculative in nature. The survey was conducted in English and Spanish and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
Among the detailed findings of this survey:
A majority of Americans envision a future made better by advancements in technology
When asked for their general views on technology’s long-term impact on life in the future, technological optimists outnumber pessimists by two-to-one. Six in ten Americans (59%) feel that technological advancements will lead to a future in which people’s lives are mostly better, while 30% believe that life will be mostly worse.
Demographically, these innovative positive thinkers are bound to be men than ladies, and bound to be school graduates than to have not finished school. For sure, men with a professional education have a particularly radiant viewpoint: 79% of this gathering expects that innovation will emphatically affect life later on, while simply 14% anticipates that that effect should be for the most part negative. Regardless of having entirely different paces of innovation use and proprietorship, more youthful and more seasoned Americans are similarly sure about the drawn out effect of mechanical change on life later on.
Predictions for the future: eight in ten Americans think that custom organ transplants will be a reality in the next 50 years, but just one in five think that humans will control the weather
Americans envision a range of probable outcomes when asked for their own predictions about whether or not some “futuristic” inventions might become reality in the next half-century. Eight in ten believe that people needing organ transplants will have new organs custom-built for them in a laboratory, but an equal number believe that control of the weather will remain outside the reach of science. And on other issues—for example, the ability of computers to create art rivaling that produced by humans—the public is much more evenly split.
A substantial majority of Americans (81%) believe that within the next 50 years people needing an organ transplant will have new organs custom made for them in a lab. Belief that this development will occur is especially high among men (86% of whom believe this will happen), those under age 50 (86%), those who have attended college (85%), and those with relatively high household incomes. But although expectations for this development are especially high within these groups, three-quarters or more of every major demographic group feels that custom organs are likely to become a reality in the next half-century.
People in general is all the more equally parted on whether PCs will before long match people with regards to making music, books, canvases, or other significant show-stoppers: 51% think that this will occur in the following 50 years, while 45% figure that it will not. As opposed to their assumptions for exclusively fabricated organs, school graduates and those with major league salaries are nearly improbable to anticipate that that PCs will progress should this degree of advancement. Some 59% of school graduates and 57% of Americans procuring $75,000 or more each year feel that PCs can not deliver masterpieces that are comparable to those created by people inside the following 50 years.
Compared with custom organs and computer produced art, the public has less confidence that the two common science fiction tropes of teleportation and colonization of other planets will come to pass. Two in five Americans (39%) think that teleportation will be possible within the next 50 years, while slightly fewer—33%—expect to live in a world in which humans have long-term colonies on other planets. Young adults are especially likely to view space colonization as a long-term eventuality: 43% of 18-29 year olds see this happening in the next half-century, compared with about a quarter of those over age 50. On the other hand, high-income Americans are pessimistic about the prospects of space colonization: just 20% of those with an annual household income of $75,000 or more think this is a realistic prediction.
From a list of futuristic inventions that includes space colonies and teleportation, Americans actually have the least confidence in the prediction that humans of the future will be able to control the weather: just 19% of the public thinks that this will probably happen. Older adults are especially pessimistic about this development, as just 11% of Americans ages 65 and older think that controlling the weather is likely to happen over the next 50 years. But even among the most “optimistic” demographic groups, the expectation that humans will control the weather in the next half-century is a decidedly minority viewpoint.
Despite their general optimism about the long-term impact of scientific advancement, many Americans are wary of some controversial changes that may be on the near-term horizon
Progressions, for example, transportation or space colonization will probably require huge jumps in logical information and exertion before they can turn into a reality, yet the far reaching reception of other “cutting edge” improvements is possibly much closer within reach. With the new presentation of Google Glass and other wearable registering gadgets, for instance, it could be just a short time before a great many people stroll around being straightforwardly taken care of a consistent stream of computerized data about their environmental factors. Also, the broad utilization of individual and business robots might depend as vigorously on administrative choices as on propels in designing.
Despite their general optimism about the long-term impact of technological change, Americans express significant reservations about some of these potentially short-term developments. We asked about four potential—and in many cases controversial—technological advancements that might become common in near future, and for each one a majority of Americans feel that it would be a change for the worse if those technologies become commonly used.
New modes of travel, improved health and longevity, and the ability to travel through time top the list of futuristic inventions Americans would like to own
In addition to capturing the public’s attitudes toward specific inventions or future outcomes, we also offered them the opportunity to tell us—in their own words—which futuristic invention they themselves would want to own.
Based on their responses, many Americans are looking forward to a future in which getting from place to place is easier, more comfortable, or more adventuresome than it is today. A total of 19% of Americans would like to own a travel-related invention of some kind, including: a flying car or flying bike (6%), a personal space craft (4%), a self-driving car (3%), a teleportation device (3%), a jet pack (1%), or a hover car or hover board (1%).
Time travel and wellbeing related developments likewise rank exceptionally. One out of ten Americans (9%) list the capacity to go through time as the cutting edge innovation they might want to have, and an indistinguishable 9% would need something that better their wellbeing, expanded their life expectancy, or restored significant infections. Simultaneously, numerous Americans appear to feel content with the mechanical creations accessible to them in the present time and place — 11% responded to this inquiry by expressing that there are no modern developments that they might want to claim, or that they are “not keen on advanced creations.” And a little more than one fourth of them (28%) didn’t know what sort of cutting edge creation they might want to possess.