Tech Revolutions Occur When You're Not Paying Attention

from the absolutely dept

I’ve heard people say that, in the technology predicting business, almost all predictions for the next year are too aggressive, while almost all predictions for the next decade are too reserved. When new technology “revolutions” come along, they don’t happen overnight (as the true believers like to suggest), but they do happen much more rapidly than everyone else expects. Now, Michael Malone has his own version of that rule, saying that every technology revolution takes twice as long as we expected, and half as long as we are prepared for. He recounts a number of technologies that have followed this trend. The interesting thing to me, is that because of the initial overhype, these “revolutions” all happen behind the scenes. The story is similar every time: (1) new technology comes along (2) tons of hype about how it will “change the world” (3) disillusionment from many initial adopters, as it turns out the technology didn’t immediately bring about nirvana (4) everyone starts bashng the technology and acting as if it’s been a total failure (5) while everyone is ignoring the technology, it’s being used successfully in many places (if quietly) and the “revolution” occurs anyway.

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