If we thought that last century’s inventions, things like cell phones and space travel, were amazing, consider what’s coming.
Driverless cars, computing implants that feed us digital information, custom-built body organs, changes to the DNA of prospective children and robots to care for the aged are just some of the technologies that a survey of Americans believe could become realities in the future.
It makes me wonder, though, just how much technological change do we need to make our lives better? Or worse for that matter?
The 20th century seemed to have already given us with everything we needed or wanted including the Internet.
The Pew Research Center respondents, 59 percent, are optimistic that coming technology and scientific change will make life better. Some 30 percent believe they will make things worse.
Drones, much smaller but similar to the ones in the sci-fi movie “Oblivion,” could become common. Retailers are considering using drones to deliver products. Problem is, drones aren’t always reliable. Earlier this month, a drone filming a triathlon in Australia dropped out of the sky and injured an athlete.
In another part of the survey, 66 percent think it would be a change for the worse if prospective parents could alter the DNA of their children to create healthier and smarter kids.
Another 65 percent of respondents disapprove of lifelike robots becoming primary caretakers for elderly and sick people.
And just when you thought dental implants or eye implants were great options, consider wearing an implant that keeps you informed about news events around the world. Some 53 percent of respondents said such implants would be a change for the worse. I agree.
Custom-built laboratory-created organs are a plausible idea. At least 80 percent of respondents in the survey agreed that could be an option in the next 50 years.
The idea of riding in driverless cars was favorable among 48 percent of people surveyed.
According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, 75 percent of cars could be self-driving by 2040.
While I am optimistic about many scientific developments, I am cautious. When the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan in 1945, people realized we could destroy the planet with nuclear weapons.
No one wants the Internet to go away, but it also has its challenges, like cyberbullying and identity theft.
I hope that the next wave of changes will enhance our lives in the future. New technologies can be used in a positive or negative way. It just depends on how we choose to harness them.
Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.