Why New Technology is Such a Hard Sell →
Why does it take so long for new technologies with seemingly-obvious positive benefits to get adopted? This example on the speed with which the polio vaccine was adopted and administered are incredible, but an outlier:
The polio vaccine is an outlier in the history of new technology because of the speed at which it was adopted. It is perhaps the lone exception to the rule that new technology has to suffer years of ignorance before people take it seriously. I don’t know of anything else like it.
You might think it was quickly adopted because it saved lives. But a far more important medical breakthrough of the 20th century – penicillin – took almost 20 years from the time it was discovered until it was used in hospitals. Ten times as many died in car accidents as from polio in the early 1950s, but it took half a century for seat belts to become a standard feature in cars.
The point of the post is to highlight why things usually go in the other direction, with new technologies taking years or decades to adopt. Sometimes not even until the next generation of children grows up with it. Wouldn’t it be great to see more positive progress embraced like the cure for polio?