Scientific progress in itself is never a guarantee of social utility. Technology should be treated as a servant of society, not as a master. Increased trade productivity and, at the same time, necessary unemployment and poverty are not a socially acceptable solution. Science must be fully integrated into the general needs of society, but this principle is not yet fully accepted. One of the reasons for public distrust of science is that ordinary people feel that they will sometimes bear the cost of technological innovation. At the North American meeting, it was repeatedly stated that it was time to put in place an international code of conduct for scientists to ensure that science is geared towards the common good. When it comes to food, 62% of Americans say that science has had a mostly positive effect, while 34% say that science has mainly had a negative impact on food quality. The balance of opinion is slightly less bright in this area than in 2009, when positive opinions exceeded negative opinions, which exceeded the margins from 66% to 24%. Science today seems caught in a crossfire between two opposing visions of the world. On the one hand, science is an important instrument of the ideology that currently fuels the global economy, namely the free market system, continuous growth and the search for personal wealth. On the other hand, science is increasingly being encouraged to produce knowledge and technologies that promote environmentally friendly, man-made development and long-term resource management. Medical biotechnology is an area of excellence in which the pace of progress may be faster than society`s ability to manage ethical and social implications.
While genetic research has great benefits for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, it also raises serious questions about the nature and sanctity of human life and the protection of human rights. The possibility that genetic technology could be controlled by powerful groups to pursue goals for their own benefit, but which may be socially destructive or discriminatory, is not lightly. This is a particularly important topic for people with disabilities. There is a clear need to strengthen dialogue between scientists, policy makers and public opinion, particularly groups that are disproportionately affected by technological change. The rest of this report describes the results of both public and scientific opinions on scientific, engineering and technology issues. Chapter 1 briefly describes the corresponding studies of the Pew Research Center and outlines some of the key reservations and concerns in conducting research in this area. Chapter 2 discusses the views of society as a whole, the image of the United States as world leaders, perceived contributions from science to society, and views on public funding of scientific research. Chapter 3 discusses attitudes and beliefs on a number of biomedical and physical topics.
It focuses on comparisons between the public and AAAS scientists and also discusses public attitudes towards access to experimental drugs, bioengineering of artificial organs, genetic niches and perceptions of scientific consensus.