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EDITIONS
Sunday, 24 January, 1999, 19:47 GMT
Technology? Yes please, say Britons
Most people put health research as their top priority
Britons are enthusiastic about turning science fiction into science fact, according to a survey.

About 400 people were asked what they believed new technology would achieve in 10 years' time.

Most think genetic engineering will be applied to humans
An overwhelming majority made physical well-being their priority and half of those questioned put health above happiness or money.

A convincing 91% thought organ transplants using animal body parts would become a reality. And 81% believed they would be able to choose the sex and personality of their child with the help of advanced genetic engineering.

Weird science

The report, called Sci-Fi Decade and commissioned by British Gas, found that more than half of those surveyed said that they would consider euthanasia. And 47% said they might agree to having a computer chip implanted in their brain to improve their health or personality.

The Net is seen as a way of bringing together families
A large majority envisioned the World Wide Web bringing families together with 83% expecting to be able to "visit" relatives using the Internet.

On a more galactic note, 39% of the 400 people surveyed expected to find intelligent life forms on another planet by the year 2010. Nearly half of respondents - 43% - believed they would be travelling in space within a decade.

Grim future for the family

In general most people were optimistic about life in the new millennium but some feared the benefits of technology might be offset by a "Big Brother" state. Women were particularly worried about the loss of personal privacy.

They were also pessimistic about the survival of marriage and families in the next decade. Three in four women expected family life to have largely disappeared by 2010 while four out of five females forecast that marriage would rarely last for life.

Eight out of 10 of all respondents also said that religion would become less important and nine in 10 people expect to be unemployed at some time and to have to retrain or switch careers to stay in work.

Links to more Science/Nature stories are at the foot of the page.


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