Smithsonian Magazine/Pew Research Poll about the Future Finds Widespread Optimism Despite Worries

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WASHINGTON, DC.- In a new national opinion survey about the next 40 years conducted by Smithsonian magazine and The Pew Research Center, most Americans said technology and science will provide solutions for some of the world’s toughest challenges: 53 percent believed most of our energy will come from sources other than coal, oil and gas; the same percentage said there will be computers that can carry on a conversation just like a human; and a majority believed there will be a cure for cancer. However, this faith in a better world does not extend to the environment. Of those polled, a small majority said the United States would face severe water shortages by 2050. Six in 10 said the oceans would be less healthy than they are now, and seven in 10 foresaw a major energy crisis. Social change is expected to be significant over the next 40 years, including a female president (89% agree), a Hispanic president (69% agree) and improved race relations (68% agree). Sixty-two percent agree