From the Medical Channel: Americans expect lab-grown organs to be commonplace within 50 years

04/21/2014

A fascinating survey of U.S. views and attitudes toward technological developments within the next 50 years reveals that eight in 10 Americans expect that people needing new organs will have them custom grown in a lab. They are not as welcoming to other technological developments, however. Sixty-five percent think it would be a change for the worse if lifelike robots become primary caregivers for the elderly and people with health conditions, and a little more than half are not enamored by the development of wearable devices or implants that connect them with the world. Women, in particular, are wary of these Google Glass–like devices. These are among the findings of a survey by the Pew Research Center in partnership with the Smithsonian magazine.

Although generally optimistic about technological and scientific advances, those polled did express reservations about the widespread use of wearable computing devices (53% said it would be a bad thing), the nonmilitary use of drones (a change for the worse for 63% of Americans), and tinkering with DNA to produce designer babies (it got a thumbs' down from 66% of people polled). On the latter point, however, it should be noted that lower-income Americans were slightly more favorable than those on the upper end of the income scale. Hmmm.

Interviewers also asked those taking the survey if they would get a brain implant to improve their memory or mental capacity, if such a device were available. Only about one-quarter said that they would.
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