We think robots could soon make art, half of us are ready for driverless cars, and drones creep us out.
These are some of the results of a new study from Pew Research, which asked 1,001 American adults over the phone about their opinions on the future of technology.
About half of Americans think that in 50 years, computers will be able to create art that is indistinguishable from that made by human artists. This isn't too far-fetched. At least one artist, Jonas Lund, is already using a computer algorithm to think up ideas for pieces of art.
Nearly half of us are also ready for driverless cars, Pew found. Forty-eight percent said they'd like to ride in one, while 50 percent said they wouldn't. Those of us who are brave enough could soon get the chance to try out riding in a driverless car, since Google is already working on developing one.
While some of us might be OK with the idea of robot cars driving us around, we aren't cool with robots taking care of our grandmas. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed said they believe it will be a change for the worse if robots are the main caretakers of the elderly. Similarly, very few people said they would want a robot servant.
Those surveyed were pretty wary of drones, as well. Pew found 63 percent of Americans think it will be a negative development if "personal and commercial drones are given permission to fly through most U.S. airspace," while 22 percent think that would be a positive change. Unfortunately for drone haters, pretty much all the major tech companies (Google, Facebook and more) now own drone-making companies. Don't worry too much, though. Neither the technology nor the laws are really ready yet.
While we might be split on certain innovations, 59 percent of people said they were optimistic that coming technological and scientific changes will make life in the future better. One in three Americans said they think tech changes will lead to a future in which people are worse off than they are today.
Of course, there are bound to be some Americans who just aren't getting their hopes up about the future of technology, after previous predictions turned out to be off-base or completely wrong. In 1964, author and scientist Isaac Asimov predicted that by 2014 technology would allow people to live in a "society of enforced leisure,” and "the most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work!” We're still waiting.