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Brits optimistic about the future of science – but only one in five would own a self-driving car

Brits optimistic about the future of science – but only one in five would own a self-driving car


‘State of Science’ survey found that 72 per cent of Brits are curious about science, but don’t necessarily trust it fully

Most Britons are too sceptical of scientific advancement to trust a driverless car, according to a new survey.

The State of Science survey, undertaken by 3M in association with the British Science Association (BSA), found that while the majority of Britons feel curious about science and optimistic about its role in the future, only 22 per cent would own a self-driving car.

In fact, more Britons were excited about the prospect of flying cars than fully autonomous ones – 42 per cent compared with just 37 per cent of sceptics.

The survey questioned 14,025 people – including 1,000 in Britain – about their thoughts on science and technology and its role in the next 20 years.

Its main findings worldwide were that: “People are curious about science and want to learn more,” “Scientists are seen as highly credible but unapproachable” and “Science scepticism is still alive and well.”

The main reason for scepticism was that there were ‘too many conflicting opinions by scientists’ – a statement that’s certainly true for the driverless car movement.

Katherine Matheson, chief executive of the BSA, told The Times: “There are deeply ingrained stereotypes about science and scientists that we must break down if we’re going to move the dial on diversifying science; not only increasing the number of people from different backgrounds going into STEM careers, but also those who identify as ‘engaged’ with science in their lives.

“If more people who would like to take science options were encouraged to do so, the skills shortage would be much less of an issue. We must look beyond the lab and find ways to position science alongside other areas of human endeavour, to show that there are lots of different ways to participate in science in the way people might music, or sport or politics.”