Americans have a lot of optimism about the scientific advances they think the next 50 years will bring. They think new organs will be grown in labs and that computers will be able to create great works of art, according to a new Pew report released Thursday.
But Americans are also apparently pessimists who simply refuse to Dream Big when it comes to the most important issue of all: controlling the weather. Take a look:
What is that about, America? Just one in five Americans think we will be able to control the weather? What happened to the people that crossed the oceans, climbed mountains, took to the stars and put a human being on the moon? What happened to the starry-eyed optimism that caused us to look at our limitations not as ceilings, but as obstacles to be overcome? What happened to AMERICA?
This winter has been unending. We don’t have to stand for it. We can figure out a way to defeat the weather one way or another. We can band together now, at this frigid moment in our history, and say this is the time when we — oh, hang on, it’s going to top 50 degrees in the Northeast on Thursday? Okay, maybe we have a little more time to figure out this weather thing.
Also, while most Americans (59 percent) do think technological advancements will lead to a better future, there are some things that they view with less optimism.
For example, a majority of people say they wouldn’t ride in a driver-less car or eat meat grown in a lab:
The driver-less car thing tends to be based on where people live, Pew notes. About half of urban and suburban residents say they would ride in a driver-less car, much higher than the 36 percent of rural people who say the same thing.
And a majority of Americans think things like robot caregivers would make the future worse:
Interestingly, while the Americans who are most optimistic about the coming technological advances are actually more open to some of these changes than people who think technological changes will make people’s lives worse, a majority still think changes like robot caregivers and wearable or implanted devices would be bad.