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Resistance to Adoption

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

When we look back at the history of new technologies, we find a similar pattern. First, there are the early adopters, then a majority adopt the technology, finally you have the skeptics, often referred to as the luddites.

Often the biggest problem with technological adoption is the fact that the government or entrenched interests fight the adoption and even engage in scare tactics. Before we look at some current examples, let’s look at some history.

It is hard to imagine now, but there was not only resistance but significant fear about bringing electricity into homes. One headline said: “Man picks up telephone, dies from shock.” You can see sketch drawings of people dying merely by walking near a power pole.

When Karl Benz brought out the first automobile, there wasn’t much of a threat to existing industries. But as more cars were produced in America, you could see ads worrying that the nation was making “sacrifices to the modern Moloch,” which was a reference to the Canaanite deity who demanded child sacrifices. And there were the warnings of an increase in what were called “motor killings.”

More recently, we have had a long list of warnings about the Internet along with so many commentators that dismissed it as a fad. One headline observed that the “Internet may be a just a passing fad as millions give up on it.” Even Wired magazine concluded, “Most things that succeed don’t require retraining 250 million people.”

By the end of this decade, we will see more innovations in areas ranging from artificial intelligence to digital currency. We will need biblical wisdom to evaluate the impact of so many of these and would be wise to learn from lessons from the past about technological adoption.viewpoints new web version

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