They don't see much to look forward to — but science and tech are a bright spot.
Americans are not terribly optimistic about the United States’ future.
In December 2018, Pew Research Center surveyed 2,524 American adults, asking them what they think the United States will be like in 2050. It recently released the results of that survey, and the general consensus is that the U.S. is a nation in decline — though Americans do see some potential bright spots ahead.
According to the Pew survey, 60 percent of Americans think the nation will be less important on the global stage in 2050. Sixty percent also believe the U.S. will “probably” or “definitely” suffer from a terrorist attack as bad or worse than 9/11 within the next three decades.
A whopping 73 percent of respondents predict the gap between the rich and poor will be wider in 2050 than it is today, and 54 percent think the U.S. economy will be weaker. The vast majority — 82 percent — believe robots and computers will take over much of the work humans currently handle, and of those, 69 percent think the shift will be bad for the nation.
Despite these pessimistic predictions on specific issues, 56 percent of respondents did report they are at least somewhat optimistic about America’s future.
And even though they might have misgivings about automation, 87 percent of respondents believe science and technology will have a positive impact in helping solve the nation’s problems — including helping find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which 59 percent are confident we’ll have by 2050.
Let’s just hope it’s these positive predictions that come true — rather than the grim ones.
READ MORE: Looking to the Future, Public Sees an America in Decline on Many Fronts [Pew Research Center]
More on automation: New Futurist Fear: “Economic Singularity” Could Kill Jobs Forever