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posted by n1 on Monday April 21 2014, @07:22AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the promoting-paranoia dept.

According to the latest research from Pew Research Center, Americans are generally excited about the new technology they expect to see in their lifetimes but when confronted with some advances that already appear possible from skies filled with drones to meat made in a lab they get nervous. Overall, respondents were upbeat about how technology will shape the near future. In the report, 59% of Americans think tech developments will make life in the next half-century better, while only 30% said they will make life worse. But some of the advances that may be closest to becoming reality are the ones survey respondents were most worried about (PDF). Nearly two out of three Americans think it would make things worse if U.S. airspace is opened up to personal drones. A similar number dislike the idea of robots being used to care for the sick and elderly, and of parents being able to alter the DNA of their unborn children. Only 37% of respondents think it will be good if wearable devices or implants allow us to be digitally connected all the time. People were split almost evenly (48%-50%) on whether they would ride in a driverless car. But only 26% said they'd get a brain implant to improve their memory or intelligence, and a mere 20% said they'd try eating meat made in a lab. Some 9% said they'd like to be able to time travel. A similar number said they'd like something that would keep them healthy or extend their lives, 6% said they wanted a flying car (or bike), 3% said they'd take a teleportation device and a mere 1% said they want their own jetpack.

Asked to describe in their own words the futuristic inventions they themselves 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. "In the long run, Americans are optimistic about the impact that scientific developments will have on their lives and the lives of their children but they definitely expect to encounter some bumps along the way," says Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at Pew and the author of the report. "They are 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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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday April 21 2014, @07:47AM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 21 2014, @07:47AM (#33879) Journal
    ... but, dude, where's my flying car?
    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by anubi on Monday April 21 2014, @08:06AM

    by anubi (2828) on Monday April 21 2014, @08:06AM (#33880) Journal
    Like a few decades ago when the IRS was introducing electronic data processing...

    And the rest of us were concerned that the availability of such computational resources to a government agency empowered to collect tax would run amuck and create so much complexity of tax law that no-one would understand it.
    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by GoonDu on Monday April 21 2014, @08:26AM

    by GoonDu (2623) on Monday April 21 2014, @08:26AM (#33881)

    Flying cars aside, this perked my interest:

    They are 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."

    Isn't it already happening?

    • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Monday April 21 2014, @08:04PM

      by davester666 (155) on Monday April 21 2014, @08:04PM (#34131)

      I believe we are WAY past "have the potential"

      Multiple global websites dedicated to "please enter your wants/needs/fears/desires here:" have upended long-standing social norms around things like personal privacy, surveillance, and the nature of social relationships

  • (Score: 1) by isaac on Monday April 21 2014, @09:39AM

    by isaac (500) on Monday April 21 2014, @09:39AM (#33891)

    ...until Google came around and showed me how naive I was.

    Both Steve Mann's "sousveillance" concept and the demonstrated potential of augmented reality as an extension of human capabilities are fascinating. Unfortunately, the appeal of wearable technology is lost when one can no longer exclude others from one's own data, or trust that the devices are under one's exclusive control. Unfortunately, hardware and software are not trustworthy and service providers are no longer in the business of providing individuals service in exchange for payment - they are also (or mostly) in the business of monetizing the data trails generated by said individuals.

    Bummer.

    -Isaac

  • (Score: 2) by Bartman12345 on Monday April 21 2014, @09:56AM

    by Bartman12345 (1317) on Monday April 21 2014, @09:56AM (#33893)

    So apparently Americans want to fly, travel through time and have longer lifetimes.

    Basically, they all want to be Doctor Who.

    I respect that.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday April 21 2014, @11:30AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 21 2014, @11:30AM (#33903) Journal

      Basically, they all want to be Doctor Who.

      Doctor... who?
      (what percentage of Americans know about Doctor Who? Mind you... you didn't say "want to be like Doctor Who" - even if they wouldn't know the doctor; you said something that amounts they know about)

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Monday April 21 2014, @12:29PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Monday April 21 2014, @12:29PM (#33923)

      If you've seen the young ladies who travel around with the Doctor, and you're the sort of person who likes ladies, then you'd want to be Doctor Who, too.

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by aristarchus on Monday April 21 2014, @10:24AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Monday April 21 2014, @10:24AM (#33897) Journal

    The roots of suspicion go back a bit further, and are by no means limited to Americans. Ever technological development so far has been at some point turned either into a weapon or a means of economic power. Poor Monsanto is mystified by the Luddite opposition to GMOs. Dice cannot understand the resistance to Beta. Google cannot fathom why our phones knowing our location and broadcasting the same is not a good idea.

    But there is hope. Georg Wilhelm Friederich Hegel has something called the "Master-slave" dialectic. The point is that once the boss takes over, he is dependent upon the conquered class (we call them "employees", now) to actually understand, make, and use technology. Eventually, the master is totally helpless, and the former slave realizes the master is no longer necessary.

    --
    You are currently banned from moderating. The last day of your ban is 2022-03-25.
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @11:53AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21 2014, @11:53AM (#33911)

    All these results seem very sane to me. They seem to understand that tech can be good OR bad and that not everything should be accepted.

    • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Monday April 21 2014, @01:51PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Monday April 21 2014, @01:51PM (#33951)

      We keep hearing that Americans are dumb but I think that's a consequence of two related things. First, an unlimited appetite for criticizing other Americans. Second, a fascination with what I'll call a freak show: finding the most extreme examples from a population of 300+ million and putting them on (inter)national display.

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by snick on Monday April 21 2014, @02:00PM

    by snick (1408) on Monday April 21 2014, @02:00PM (#33955)

    Nearly two out of three Americans think it would make things worse if U.S. airspace is opened up to personal drones.

    Funny how we are being prompted to fear personal drones, but there is no discussion of government or corporate drones.

    Keep the serfs fighting amongst themselves and they won't notice what the lord of the manor is up to.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Lazarus on Monday April 21 2014, @08:47PM

    by Lazarus (2769) on Monday April 21 2014, @08:47PM (#34148)

    We call them RC airplanes and helicopters. Adding multiple rotors and computer control doesn't make much of a difference.

  • (Score: 2) by Non Sequor on Monday April 21 2014, @11:00PM

    by Non Sequor (1005) on Monday April 21 2014, @11:00PM (#34193) Journal

    Baby I'm more than a little concerned you see
    about the New World Order conspiracies
    And the covert spreading of deadly disease
    They've got earthquake machines and UFO's
    and black helicopters wherever we go
    But I forget them all when you are with me
    They can telepathically read my mind I'm not scared of what
    they'll find - Let them do what they're gonna do
    Cuz if the government can read my mind
    they know I'm thinking of you.

    They've got secretly funded internment camps
    and biological warfare labs
    But when you look at me they all don't seem so bad
    They've got Martian traded technology,
    and mind control psychology
    I'll let them do what they wanna do
    Cuz if the government can read my mind
    they know I'm thinking of you.

    I could stockpile food and join a militia
    but I'd rather stay at home and kiss ya
    Let them do what they're gonna do
    Cuz if the government can read my mind
    they know I'm thinking of you.

    If the government can read my mind baby,
    you know it doesn't matter what
    they find, cuz if the government can read my mind
    they know I'm thinking of you.

    --
    Write your congressman. Tell him he sucks.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 22 2014, @04:11AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 22 2014, @04:11AM (#34240)

    obvious sham study, everyone wants a jetpack. true story bro.