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Wearables, Drones Scare Americans

Google has some public relations to do. People remain wary of tech breakthroughs including care-giving robots and drones, Pew research finds.

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Wearables, Drones Scare Americans


Most Americans think technology will improve society, but they are concerned about specific avenues of research. A survey conducted by the nonprofit Pew Research Center finds doubts about expected technological change, mixed in with the optimism.

For Google, which has struggled to make its Glass computerized eyewear socially acceptable, for Amazon, which has floated the possibility of delivering packages by drone, and for other companies banking on the future, the survey’s findings suggest that research budgets should be matched by investments in public relations. The future may be bright but people are more comfortable with the present.

Overall, the 1,001 US adults surveyed by Pew researchers expect technology will make the world a better place. Among the respondents, 59% expressed optimism that coming technological changes will make life better, while 30% anticipated a future where people are worse off.

Eight in ten think society will benefit from lab-grown organs in the next 50 years while half of those surveyed foresee computers that will be able create art that’s indistinguishable from what a human can make.

At the same time, a surprisingly large percentage of people anticipate unrealistic scenarios. For example, 39% think scientists will be able to teleport objects within 50 years. That number should be much closer to zero.

(Continue reading.)

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Contributed by Thomas Claburn of InformationWeek.

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