A third of U.S. adults say they'd be enthusiastic about a microchip implanted in brain
by Allen Cone
Washington (UPI) Jul 26, 2016
A third of U.S. adults in a recent Pew Research Center survey said they'd be "enthusiastic" about a brain chip to enhance their thinking power.
The survey of 4,726 adults examined public attitudes about three emerging technologies that could improve a person's health, cognitive ability or physical capacity.
Responses showed that a majority of American adults are uneasy, or "worried" about all three. But in all three cases, at least a third of respondents were "enthusiastic."
--Using implanted brain chips to boost our thinking power: 69 percent worried vs. 34 percent enthusiastic.
--Editing the genes of babies to eliminate hereditary flaws and diseases: 68 percent worried vs. 49 percent enthusiastic.
--Transfusing synthetic blood to give people much greater speed, strength and stamina: 63 percent worried vs. 36 percent enthusiastic.
"Developments in biomedical technologies are accelerating rapidly, raising new societal debates about how we will use these technologies and what uses are appropriate," said lead author Cary Funk, an associate director of research at Pew, in a statement. "This study suggests Americans are largely cautious about using emerging technologies in ways that push human capacities beyond what's been possible before."
While a majority in the survey say they are worried about human enhancements, 81 percent of U.S. adults expect artificially made organs to be routinely available for transplant in 50 years, and 66 percent of Americans say scientists will probably or definitely cure most forms of cancer by 2066.
More respondents said they would not want enhancements of their brains (66 percent) and their blood (63 percent) than say they would want them (32 percent and 35 percent).
Almost three quarters (73 percent) believe inequality will increase if brain chips become available because initially they will be obtainable only by the wealthy.
Also, 63 percent of Americans think recipients of enhancements will feel superior to those who have not received them.
In the survey, the public is evenly divided on whether these three enhancements are "meddling with nature."
The survey also asked about cosmetic procedures and other current enhancements.
Thirty-four percent say elective cosmetic surgery is "taking technology too far."
The survey was conducted by mail from March 2 to 28 with a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points.
The Pew Research Center also interviewed in focus groups a diverse sample of 47 participants across the country on why they felt uncomfortable about these technologies.
"I just think that there's that place where you're going beyond healthy, you're going to super strength or computer [chip] thinking, [then] I think that's unnatural," said one focus group participant, a 50-year-old woman from Phoenix. "I think that being healthy, productive, [and having a] good quality of life is where I would draw the line."
"If it starts to sound Hitler-like, [trying to create] a perfect specimen of man and woman ... then people who are not perfect might be treated badly," a 59-year-old white woman in Atlanta said.
A 40-year-old Hispanic man in Phoenix was concerned about increased memory. "I hate to sound like a jerk, but I think ... this comes with a certain amount of arrogance when you get this," he said. "Because now you go from being 'normal Dave' in the room to the smartest guy in the room. Being able to – can't have a fight with your wife because you remember every single word that was said because now you have increased memory and everything else. "
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.