Americans are wary of many modern technologies, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. A majority of people in the United States, 59 percent, believe technology will lead to a better world. Three of every 10 people stated technology will bring more harmful than beneficial changes.
People love some technology, such as smartphones, and many are in near-constant communication using electronic devices. However, drones and custom-made babies were far less popular among the people surveyed.
Technophobia may affect sales of devices like Google Glass. That computer-controlled eyewear became available on a limited basis on April 15. More than half of the respondents predict negative consequences from people regularly wearing computer-enabled eyewear like Google Glass. Women are more wary than men of the smart eyewear.
Artificial organs will be grown in labs within the next 50 years predict eight in 10 people, or 81 percent of those answering the survey.
Only 19 percent of respondents believed the human race will learn to control the weather in the next 50 years. The survey looked at other possible technological breakthroughs over the next five decades.
"Fewer than half of Americans - 39% - expect that scientists will have developed the technology to teleport objects, and one in three (33%) expect that humans will have colonized planets other than Earth," the Pew Research Center reports in a press release announcing the survey.
Designer children, made possible through genetic engineering, are viewed as a negative possibility by two out of three respondents. Such technology could allow potential parents to select traits in their future child, selecting for or against chosen tendencies.
Drones regularly flying through airspace will have negative consequences, predict 63 percent of people in the study.
Nearly half of the people studied - 48 percent - would be willing to try riding in a driverless car, while 50 percent would turn down an invitation to try the technology.
Brain implants to improve memory or mental functions are one of the least popular of all possible future developments, according to the study. Only 26 percent would undergo the procedure, while 72 would retain natural capabilities.
The study was conducted in conjunction with Smithsonian magazine, as part of an article on links between science fact and fiction.
"Giving respondents a chance to unleash their own imaginations, they were asked what life-changing invention they would like to see. Two ideas tied for first place, with 9 percent apiece. One was right out of science fiction - time travel - whereas the other was as old as the hills, the wish to improve health and boost longevity," T.A. Frail wrote for the magazine.