Many in the general public think scientific and technological innovations bring helpful change to society, but they are more concerned than excited when it comes to the potential use of emerging technologies to make people's minds sharper, their bodies stronger and healthier than ever before, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The survey covers broad public reaction to scientific advances and examines public attitudes about the potential use of three specific emerging technologies for "human enhancement."
The nationally representative survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults centered on public views about: gene editing that might give babies a lifetime with much reduced risk of serious disease, implantation of brain chips that potentially could give people a much improved ability to concentrate and process information, and transfusions of synthetic blood that might give people much greater speed, strength and stamina. The survey is part of a research package that also includes an analysis of focus groups and an essay summarizing experts' views on these topics.
A majority of Americans would be 'very' or 'somewhat' worried about gene editing (68%); brain chips (69%); and synthetic blood (63%), while no more than half say they would be enthusiastic about each of these developments. While some people say they would be both enthusiastic and worried, overall, concern outpaces excitement.