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Americans Wary of Futuristic Science, Tech

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A skeptical man.

While most Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center thing technology will make life even better in the next 50 years, nearly a third said they thought technology would make life worse over the same period.


The majority of Americans think tech developments will make life in the next half-century better, but 30 percent said they would make life worse, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

Although nearly two-thirds of survey respondents disliked the idea of robots being used to care for the sick and elderly, 51 percent think computers will be able to create art as skillfully as humans do.

"The American public anticipates that the coming half-century will be a period of profound scientific change, as inventions that were once confined to the realm of science fiction come into common usage," the survey's report says.

The survey found many respondents were leery of some possible near-term technological advances, such as the use of personal drones and the ability of parents to manipulate the DNA of their unborn children. About half of the respondents said they would ride in a driverless car, and 39 percent said it was likely scientists would develop a way to teleport things. However, only 19 percent expect scientists to learn how to control the weather.

Pew's Aaron Smith notes respondents were "especially concerned about developments that have the potential to upend long-standing social norms around things like personal privacy, surveillance, and the nature of social relationships."

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Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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