If you asked the average American what they think about the coming crop of technologies, you'd probably get some generic optimism. According to a recent Pew Research survey found that 59 percent of Americans expected that technology would make our lives better, only 30 percent worried that we'd be worse off because of scientific progress. More than eight in 10 even expect us to be growing replacement organs in labs within the next 50 years. But when dig into specific technologies, opinions start to turn a little more sour.
When considering the potential impact of something like drones, robots or genetic engineering Americans are quite wary. For instance, 63 percent think that we will be worse off if commercial or personal drones are given clearance to fly through US airspace. The worries over machines doesn't end there either. 65 percent of Americans are concerned about the possibility of lifelike robots caring for our sick and elderly. And when it comes to altering our DNA to improve our intelligence or resistance to disease Americans are firmly opposed -- with 66 percent saying it would be a change for the worse.
The numbers offer an interesting view into the American mind, which seems to hold contradicting opinions about science and technology. People appear to believe that their lives are better thanks to scientific progress and they believe that the overall impact of technology in the future will be positive. Yet when specific technologies are in question that would dramatically change how we live our lives or even what it means to be human (electronic implants), Americans become significantly more pessimistic.