The evidence is in: we believe technology will create a better future but not better environment


The Smithsonian Institute and Pew Research Center recently did a survey of Americans on what they thought would happen by the year 2050.

Good created a nice infographic, below, summarizing some of the data. Click on the image for the full size version.

Image source: Good

The Smithsonian magazine has also created a nice animation from the results.

Here are some of what the American people believe will (or is likely to) happen by 2050:

Computers will be able to converse like humans: 81%
Cancer will be cured: 71%
Ordinary people will travel in space: 53%
Extinct animals will be brought back by cloning: 51%
Gas-powered cars will no longer be made: 54%

Most of the U.S. will have severe water shortages: 53%
Earth will get warmer: 66%
World will face a major energy crisis: 72%
World’s oceans will be less healthy: 60%

Another world war: 58%
US terrorist attack involving nuclear weapons: 53%
Most Americans won’t retire until their 70s: 86%
Paper editions of newspapers won’t exist: 64%

In short, there is a strong belief in technology, but pessimism about the environment.

The headline figure of whether people are optimistic about whether life will get better for themselves and their families comes out at 64%, which sounds good until you compare it to the figure for 1999, which was 81%. 61% are optimistic about the future of the U.S., compared to 70% in 1999.

So while we are optimistists, it does seem to be curable…