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What Invention Would You Most Like to See in Your Lifetime?

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Google Glass. Password-authenticating pills. 3-D printed houses. Drones that take selfies.

Reality is beginning to look increasingly like a sci-fi movie, and here at, we say keep it coming.

Most of you, it turns out, agree with us.

A new national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that some 59 percent of Americans believe coming technological and scientific changes within the next 50 years will make life better (although if you're a young college educated man, that number jumps to 79 percent), while only 30 percent think all the crazy tech stuff headed our way will make things worse.

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Eight out of 10 respondents expect that custom-made organs will soon be grown in labs eliminating the need for organ donations, while just over half think that sometime in the next 50 years, computers will start making music, novels, paintings and other pieces of art indistinguishable from works produced by humans. 

Realistic predictions aside, though, what are the breakthroughs Americans would most like to see in the upcoming half-century?  

When asked to describe in their own words the futuristic inventions they'd want to own, the public offered three common themes, Pew reports: (1) travel improvements like flying cars and bikes, or even personal space crafts, (2) time travel; and (3) health improvements that extend human longevity or cure major diseases.

Nearly 20 percent of Americans, according to the survey, would like to own a travel-related invention of some kind (while a flying car was the most popular choice, cheers to the one percent of respondents waiting for the day that this video becomes a reality).

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Out of the three items on America's futuristic invention wish list, the first (travel improvements) is the least far out, what with Google hard at work developing driverless cars and Elon Musk hard at work convincing us that it's possible to Hyperloop your way from San Francisco to LA in 30 minutes. (Also, how difficult can it be to build a hover board?)

No. 2 on the list (time travel) is probably considerably further around the corner, but item number three (health improvements that extend human longevity) is something most of us can probably expect to see in our lifetime. Again, Google's on it.

Tell Us: What futuristic invention would you most like to own? What scientific breakthrough would you most like to see? Or, like 11 percent of respondents, are you good with the way things are now?

Laura Entis

Written By

Laura Entis is a reporter for's Venture section.