What do Millennial parents think of using futuristic healthcare tech on their kids?

A 3D printed heart for your child? A new survey by IEEE reveals how parents of Generation Alpha view the future of healthcare technology.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer

For the third straight year, a survey by IEEE presents a snapshot of how the newest crop of parents, whose kids belong to Generation Alpha, think of artificial intelligence and other technologies in relation to their children's health and wellness. The study surveyed parents in the U.S., U.K., India, China and Brazil with Generation Alpha children (nine years old or younger).

Perhaps not surprisingly, confidence was high overall among Millennial parents that technologies that just a short time ago were primarily the realm of science fiction will play an important role in health and treatment outcomes for their kids.

For example, a majority of parents (U.S.: 52 percent; U.K.: 60 percent; Brazil: 75 percent; India: 92 percent; China: 94 percent) would be very comfortable allowing a properly tested and fully functional 3D printed heart to be implanted in their child if needed in the future. Many parents surveyed went further, expressing that they would be "extremely" comfortable allowing a 3D printed heart to be implanted in their child (India: 58 percent; China: 50 percent; Brazil: 42 percent). 

In the U.S. a minority of respondent  (48 percent) said they would not be very comfortable having a 3D printed heart implanted in their children.

Other technologies accounted for in the survey drive home just how drastically healthcare could change for Gen Alpha. For example, a significant majority of Millennial parents surveyed globally would prefer their pediatrician to recommend VR pain therapy instead of medication to alleviate their child's pain (China: 97 percent; India: 96 percent; Brazil: 90 percent; U.K: 82 percent; U.S: 79 percent). This is a particularly revealing statistic given the ongoing opioid crisis in the U.S. and elsewhere, as well as growing awareness of over-medication and children.

However, Millennials around the globe aren't equally keen on all technologies when it comes to healthcare and their children. AI-powered virtual nurses, for example, didn't rate well. Parents in the U.S. and U.K. would generally be uncomfortable leaving their children in the care of an AI-powered nurse in a hospital. In Asia, however, the opposite is true. Fully 88 percent of Millennial parents in China and 83 percent in India would be very comfortable leaving their kids in the hands of a virtual nurse. 

Similarly, Millennial parents in Asia are significantly more likely to allow robots powered by AI to conduct surgery on their Generation Alpha child (China: 94 percent; India: 86 percent) than parents in the West (51 percent in the U.K. and 46 percent in the U.S.). 

The full survey data, which goes into topics such as self-driving school buses and AI diagnostic tools, can be found here

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