The Pew Research Internet Project just published the results of a big survey on “science in the next 50 years,” and the general finding is that the majority of Americans think technological advancements with make life better.
One area of tech progress that people still can’t seem to agree on is driverless cars, or self-driving cars, or whatever you want to call them. The point is that Americans are oddly wary of having a robot take them to the grocery store.
Pew asked this question to over a thousand people: Would you ride in a driverless car?
Astonishingly (to me, at least), 50 percent of those asked said no, they would not ride in a driverless car. On the other hand, 48 percent said that they would, so at least most people are decisive on the issue.
This makes driverless cars only 22 points more popular than brain implants and 28 points more popular than lab-grown meat.
As you might expect, there’s an interesting divide in who supports the idea of driverless cars and who doesn’t like the sound of them.
“48% would like to do this if given the opportunity, while 50% say this is something they would not want to do. College graduates are particularly interested in giving driverless cars a try: 59% of them would do so, while 62% of those with a high school diploma or less would not. There is also a geographical split on this issue: Half of urban (52%) and suburban (51%) residents are interested in driverless cars, but just 36% of rural residents say this is something they’d find appealing,” says Pew.
Good news for the college grads and urban enthusiasts–they’re coming. Sure, the technology is having to jump through dozens of legal hoops, but tons of companies are developing or planning to develop driverless technology. Of course, Google is the most well-known of the bunch–but other companies are getting in on the ground floor, for instance Tesla.
Some analysts even think that the majority of automobile sales will come in the form of driverless cars as early as the year 2035. In 20 years, these analysts predict that driverless car sales could exceed 12 million units.
So, where do you stand? Lover or a hater?