Americans Love Most Tech Innovations, Still Wary of Self-Driving Cars

Eighty-eight percent (88%) of Americans believe the digital revolution, sparked in part by Apple founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, has been good for the United States. And clear majorities also believe most of the specific innovations sparked by technological advances have also been good for the country.

A new survey asked about ten relatively new technologies and found that Americans strongly believe eight of the ten have been good for the nation. The two notable exceptions are self-driving cars and social media platforms.

Only 31% of Americans believe self-driving car technology has been good for the United States while 46% say it’s been bad. It’s the only new technology in the survey with more negative reviews than positive. Data released last fall showed that 73% would not feel safe in a self-driving car at this time.

Still, a majority of voters (58%) believe most cars on the road will be self-driving within 20 years.[NOTE: Scott Rasmussen has written about his first ride in a “driverless” car and is an enthusiastic advocate of that technology.]

For social media platforms, the results are more evenly divided. Forty-six percent (46%) say sites like Facebook and Twitter have been good for the United States. But 41% say they’ve been bad. Last November, 45% of Americans specifically said Facebook has been good for the U.S., while 35% said it was bad.

Other data showed that 55% believe that Facebook has too much power. Forty-seven percent (47%) believe the same about Twitter. However, just 21% want the federal government to regulate social media giants. Additionally, 61% oppose breaking up any of the giant tech companies.

As for other technologies, 83% of Americans believe bar code scanners have been good for the country. Eighty-two percent (82%) say the same about smartphones and health monitors. Eighty percent (80%) see online banking as good for the nation and 68% say the same about facial recognition software.

Sixty percent (60%) of voters say texting has been good for the country while just 28% say it’s been bad; 56% believe artificial intelligence has had a positive impact while 27% say the opposite. Drones are seen as good by 52% and bad by 29% (see crosstab results).

While embracing new technology in general, Americans do have some concerns that things are moving too quickly. A notable exception on that front is that people believe government regulators are going too slow in releasing health care tech.

Many concerns have been raised about specific technologies: For example, texting while driving has led to a large number of accidents, And, there have been privacy and air safety concerns reported about drone use, Some tech pundits have publicly expressed concern that A.I. could eliminate millions of jobs and become a destructive force that humans cannot control.

This national survey of 1,001 Registered Voters was conducted January 13-14, 2019 by and HarrisX, a leading research company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and the Demographic profile of our sample). The Margin of Error is +/- 3.1 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

The mission of is to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us). We release new polling data daily, including updates of the president’s Job Approval Rating and the Generic Congressional Ballot.

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Neither Scott Rasmussen nor has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).


Posted in Poll Results

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