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Apr 18

New Pew Study: U.S. Views of Technology and the Future

the glass city

Futuristic Americans escape a mass shooting at the mall with only a gun and some bacon to protect them.

A new Pew Research Center study indicates that Americans expect a lot of scientific and technological progress in the next few decades but are less than impressed with much of what’s coming in the short term. That is, they believe these things will exist but they don’t necessarily like them.

  • 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.

When the study tried to find what futuristic things Americans would like to own:

 . . . the public offered three common themes: 1) travel improvements like flying cars and bikes, or even personal space crafts; 2) time travel; and 3) health improvements that extend human longevity or cure major diseases.

Yeah, uh guys . . . Like, I get the disease thing but a time travelling flying bike? Are you fucking serious?

Part of me wants to believe the CBS angle on this story, that science fiction is becoming reality — and Americans aren’t all that excited, because being bored by the future makes sense. I mean, America has been selling the future for a long time and who isn’t a little bored of it? Maybe some skepticism on the subject is overdue. But, when I hear about the flying bikes and all, I think maybe the country is just full of crazy people. Cause flying bikes? How does that even make sense?

2 comments

  1. Beverly

    OK, that would be lame, but I am down with flying cars in and of themselves. I don’t trust the general public not to just have tons of chaotic mid-air accidents, though, so I am not holding my breath. ;)

    1. Ryan Oakley

      When it comes to flying cars, I always have to wonder what has happened on the ground to make them and their risks worthwhile. Nothing all that good, I think. In the case of flying bikes, it just seems like it must be all that much more worse.

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