June 11, 2009 / 2:22 PM / 10 years ago

Americans willing to have robotic surgery: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Trust and reliance on the Internet have increased so much that nearly half of Americans said they would have robotic surgery conducted via the Internet, according to a new poll.

Professor Lord Ara Darzi speaks to Reuters about robotic surgery in front of a streaming video of a robot demonstrating surgery on a prosthetic heart at Imperial College London October 24, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Americans are so accustomed to shopping, paying bills and banking on the Internet that they didn’t baulk when asked in a survey if they would have robotic web-based surgery or use electronic tracking units to keep tabs on young children.

“Many Americans are now ready to trust their lives and the safety of their children to the Internet,” Zogby International, which conducted the poll, said in a statement.

Nearly half of the 3,030 Americans questioned in a survey said they would have Internet-based, life-saving, robotic surgery performed over the web by an overseas surgeon.

“It makes sense because there has been a progression in almost everything else,” John Zogby, the CEO of the company, said in an interview.

“The most amazing thing to me, really, is the growing facility and acceptance of the Internet as part of our daily routines,” he added.

The majority of people questioned also approved of using tracking devices for children under 12 years old if it transmits signals on a password-protected website they could track.

Women were only slightly more likely than men to approve a tracking device, with 55 percent backing it, while 51 percent of men favored use of such a device.

“This is a spontaneous result, so that just the concept wasn’t shocking,” said Zogby.

Older Americans were more likely to approve of the tracking device, while younger people, particularly 25 to 34-years olds, were more open to Internet surgery. People 70 years and older were the most reluctant to trust a robot with their life.

Although Americans are becoming more dependent on the Internet for a variety of services, they are also concerned about its uses. Thirty percent believe the Internet should be regulated.

The Zogby survey, done in late May and early June, showed that 84 percent of Americans have Internet access, including 90 percent of likely voters.

“We’re getting close to universality, as far as Internet penetration,” Zogby added.

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