A new study by Pew Research and Smithsonian Magazine shows Americans are fairly optimistic about the future of technology — they just don’t necessarily trust it.
A phone poll of 1,001 adults from Feb. 13-18 asked questions on everything from convenience-based, bleeding-edge tech to future dystopian science-fiction scenarios, many of which had some surprising results.
In the recently emerging field of wearable tech headlined by breakthroughs like Google Glass, 53 percent of respondents said a future in which “most people wear implants or other devices that constantly show them information about the world around them,” would be a negative, while only 37 percent said it would be positive.
Another recent poll examining Google Glass specifically showed an overwhelming percentage of Americans wanted nothing to do with Google’s wearable tech.
Despite recent endeavors announced by companies like Amazon to implement drone use into everyday society, 63 percent said that if “personal and commercial drones are given permission to fly through most U.S. airspace,” it would have negative consequences. Those concerns have already begun to manifest in the form of state legislation outlawing drone use or approving drone hunting over privacy concerns.
In perhaps the most surprising finding, 65 percent of respondents said a future in which service-oriented humanoid robots were the norm would be a change for the worse — a sentiment recently echoed in Japan, where Toyota is replacing assembly line robots with human workers to improve quality.
Undoubtedly the most potentially frightening question asked whether “computers will soon match humans when it comes to creating music, novels, paintings, or other important works of art” — an obvious allusion to the development of artificial intelligence.
Fifty percent said it would be possible within the next 50 years, while 45 percent said it would not be possible within that span of time despite recent technological breakthroughs in areas like surveillance, where developers have already created fully autonomous computers capable of watching and learning human behavior free of any outside control.
The most even split was over the prospect of driverless cars, of which 48 percent were interested, while 50 percent were not.