Some Americans may be more likely to reach for a shotgun than their wallet if they saw a drone hovering at the door. But a new survey found that a majority of American respondents expect drone pizza delivery to be “normal” by the year 2036.
Other predictions deemed “likely” by a majority of Americans in the survey include cashless technologies completely replacing physical money, doctors’ appointments in virtual reality becoming routine, and self-driving cars outnumbering normal cars. By comparison, Americans seemed more pessimistic about predictions such as robots outnumbering human beings or people commonly having virtual avatars as girlfriends or boyfriends by 2036. The findings came from a survey commissioned by London & Partners and conducted by MG Insight/ YouGov that used a scientific sampling method to get a representative sample of U.S. adults.
The survey was inspired by expert predictions made by the Imperial College London’s Tech Foresight research team at the annual Tech Foresight showcase event from 2015. A total of 2,088 U.S. adults participated in the survey. Here is a quick look at some of the predictions that Americans deemed most likely to occur by 2036.
Cashless technologies have been gaining favor in the U.S. and other countries across the world. Mobile payment systems such as Square Cash and Venmo that allow people to easily share the monthly rent or pay back friends for movie tickets have become especially popular among the younger generations. Mobile banking has also become popular among smartphone users. So perhaps it’s no surprise that a majority of U.S. adults surveyed seem to think physical money will go the way of the dinosaur by 2036. Almost 69 percent said the replacement of physical money with cashless technologies was likely, compared with just 25 percent who said it was not likely and seven percent who were uncertain.
In fact, the U.S. lags behind Europe and countries such as Japan, Canada, Kenya in terms of cashless technologies. And it may still be premature to kiss the pennies and $50 bills goodbye. Some experts surveyed by the Pew Research Center in 2012 expect older generations of Americans to adopt cashless technologies much more slowly, if at all. Other experts point out that security and privacy concerns may also make some Americans reluctant to abandon cash altogether. In any case, total replacement of cash with cashless technologies also depends on the willingness of big banks and retailers to get on board.
Pizza Delivery Drones Take Off
The belief in drone pizza delivery seems reasonable considering companies such as Amazon and Google have already been testing drones as delivery vehicles. Fans of the former NBC show “Park and Recreation” may recall the depiction of Gryzzl (a fictional tech giant loosely based on Google) sending delivery drones to people’s homes in Pawnee, Indiana. No wonder 66 percent of Americans surveyed said drone pizza delivery would be considered normal by 2036. Just 27 percent said that prediction was not likely. Seven percent were uncertain.
In the real world, Google and Amazon have already been doing some initial drone delivery tests by applying for special permission from government regulators. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has also been in the midst of developing and rolling out regulations for commercial drone use. But the latest FAA regulations set to go into effect in August may slow any plans for automated pizza delivery by drones. The Guardian points out that the latest rules require each drone to have a human pilot and for the drones to fly within the visual line of sight of those pilots. On the other side of the world, Chinese companies have already dipped their toes into testing drone delivery for everything from mail packages to teas.
We more or less have the technology. But much depends on whether government regulators can finalize rules that enable a drone pizza delivery service to safely fly above the streets of cities and towns.