The Swinburne National Technology and Society Monitor provides an annual ‘snapshot’ of public perceptions of technological change. The Monitor is based on a national survey of 1000 Australian adults aged 18 to 94.
The main findings of the 2011 Monitor are:
1. In general, Australians are comfortable with the rate of technological change in the world today.
2. Most Australians are very comfortable with having wind farms in Australia but are not comfortable with having nuclear power plants in Australia.
3. The degree of comfort with genetically modified (GM) plants and animals for food remains relatively low.
4. Australians trust scientific institutions and the non-commercial media for information about new technologies. They have less trust in major companies and the churches, with the least trust in the commercial media.
5. Australians report higher levels of trust in medical doctors than in mental health professionals.
6. When asked what social issues were the most important for Australia today, issues related to public health and quality of life were the most cited social concerns. Also often cited were environmental and population issues.
7. Australians reported low levels of awareness and knowledge regarding nanotechnology, and the vast majority had not participated in any activities related to nanotechnology. However, after being given some information about nanotechnology, findings suggested that:
a. Australians are generally comfortable with the use of nanotechnology in a variety of contexts.
b. Australians perceive mostly benefits from the use of nanotechnology, particularly for future generations.