Pew Survey Finds Mix of Feelings on Future of Technology

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are optimistic about technological and scientific changes in the future, while about a third believe it will make people worse off. That's a key takeaway from a new study by the Pew Research Center.

The study, "U.S. Views of Technology and the Future," looks at how Americans think about science and tech in the next five decades. While there is much optimism, there are also widespread concerns about some technological developments.

There are certainly high expectations for what tech can deliver. Eighty-one percent say that new transplant organs will be grown to spec in a lab. Fifty-one percent say that computers will be able to create art that is indistinguishable from human-created art -- which may also be an indirect comment on the quality of modern art.

Colonizing Other Planets

Nearly 40 percent believe technology will exist to teleport objects, a leap of faith since that technology has not currently gotten beyond sending a few subatomic particles. A third say earthlings will colonize other planets in this time frame, and 19 percent expect weather will be controllable.

But the future is not entirely seen through rose-colored enhanced reality glasses. Two-thirds believe it would be a turn for the worse if parents could change the DNA of their children to improve them in some way. Sixty-five percent don't like the idea of lifelike robots becoming the primary caregivers for elderly and people in poor health, and 63 percent don't like the idea of personal and commercial drones flying through most U.S. airspace.

And look out, Google Glass. More than half -- 53 percent -- believe it would be a change for the worse if most people were wearing devices, or had implants, that showed them information about the world they inhabit.

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