The Future, According to Americans: Talking Computers and Terrorist Nukes

What will life be like in 2050? Will there be a cure for cancer? What about talking computers? Contact with aliens? A lady president? I don't know! Why not ask America?

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press polled 1,546 people by telephone to ask what they thought the future might hold. Here is what your life will be like in 2050, according to Americans:

  • You will have artificial limbs ("66% say artificial arms and legs will outperform real limbs").
  • You probably lost those natural limbs in a world war ("58% see another world war as definite or probable") or a nuclear terrorist attack ("53% expect the United States to face a terrorist attack with nuclear weapons").
  • But at least you won't have cancer. ("71% say that a cure for cancer will probably or definitely have been found").
  • You will be poor ("58% say that it is likely that the rich-poor gap will grow").
  • You will still be working ("86% says that it is probable that most Americans will have to work into their 70s before retiring").
  • Your best friend will be of a different race ("68% say that race relations are likely to improve"), or an alien ("50% say that by 2050 there definitely or probably will be evidence that humans are not alone in the universe"), or a computer ("81% think computer science will have progressed to the point where a computer will probably or definitely be able to carry on a conversation indistinguishable from that of a human being").
  • If your best friend is a female Latina, she might be president ("89% say that a woman will definitely or probably be elected; 69% expect a Hispanic to be elected U.S. president").
  • You won't have read about her election in the paper ("64% say paper editions of newspapers will no longer exist").
  • Jesus will not have come back ("41% expect Jesus Christ to return").

I can't wait!

[AP; Pew Research Center]