What if you could read minds or hug someone through the internet?1
What if you could print your dinner or print some implants that gave you superpowers?1, 2
That’s not just the stuff of comic books or sci-fi movies.
It could be a reality soon with technology of the future.
Of course, there’s no way to know if any of that will happen or when new innovations could totally change our lives.
And there’s no way to predict what exciting new tech will stand up to the hype or go the way of Google Glass or the DeLorean until it’s here.
What we do know is that new technology is always around the corner and not all of it ends up changing our lives in big ways.
But some of it DOES.
When that happens, fear can follow.
Jobs can disappear forever, industries can shift, and speculation can run rampant.
As scary as that may seem, it’s not necessarily bad news.
In fact, lots of today’s go-to tech was mind-blowing when it first hit the scene. It shook things up and created some awesome new opportunities.
Let’s find out, by looking at some of the most disruptive and life-altering inventions of recent times and see how they’ve made life better.
5 Life-Changing Inventions & How the World Resisted Them at First
When “horseless carriages” debuted in the early 1900s, they weren’t as popular as you’d think.
“The notion that… vehicles of any… kind will be able to compete with railroad trains for long-distance traffic is visionary to the point of lunacy,” a notable reporter of the time said.3
- Disruptions: Transportation industry, displacing horse carriages and bicycles.
- Benefits: Traveling farther is now possible. The auto industry emerges, with new opportunities in manufacturing, sales, maintenance, and more. So do auto industry regulations.
Airplanes were another invention met with skepticism when they were first introduced.
“It is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two or three years ago were thought to hold the solution to the [flying machine] problem, have been exhausted, and that we must turn elsewhere.” That’s what Thomas Edison had to say about airplanes in the late 1800s.
- Disruptions: Transportation industry, displacing railroads and ship travel.
- Benefits: Air travel emerges, with airports and regulations to follow. That sparks a surge in tourism and travel-related businesses, like hotels and rental cars. It also created countless new jobs, from pilots and flight attendants to airplane builders, airport workers, and more.
3: Renewable Energy
Like coal, renewable energy faced resistance when it first came on the scene.4
In fact, it has yet to be fully embraced, and that’s partly because there’s still a lot of doubt about this technology.5
- Disruptions: Traditional energy industries and businesses, especially those focused on fossil fuels and coal.
- Benefits: Solar and wind renewables emerge, with many applications. Renewable energy also reshapes the transportation, HVAC, and construction industries.
“Computerphobia” broke out in the ’80s and spilled into the ’90s, with folks feeling “resistances, fears, anxieties, and hostilities” towards computers when they were first introduced.6
That didn’t really go away until the next big thing in the digital world came along — cyberspace.6
- Disruptions: Many “manual” jobs disappeared with computers. Certain factory jobs, switchboard operators, and elevator operators weren’t needed any more. Same with bowling pin boys, data processors, travel agents, and more.7
- Benefits: Computers brought a powerful new way to access, store, process, and manage huge amounts of data — and understand it better. Computers also got rid of human error in some tasks and made it easy to automate others.
5: The Internet
The world wide web was met with a lot of confusion when it debuted in the ’90s. There weren’t search engines early on, and web addresses were brand new.8
“The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.” That was written by an internet skeptic in the ’90s in an article entitled, “The Internet? Bah!” The subtitle may be the cherry on top of this treat — it’s, “Hype alert: Why cyberspace isn’t, and will never be, nirvana.”9
- Disruptions: Print media, mail, travel, retail, education, and so many other industries were transformed.
- Benefits: The internet has given us instant access to information, all new ways to do business, and convenient ways to connect. It’s also given rise to a digital world of apps, games, shops, social media, and more.
The truth is it’s natural to resist change and innovation.
We’re more comfortable with what we know. That’s familiar and predictable. Change can get in the way of that and create more uncertainty and anxiety.
If we know how we react to change, we can respond better.
Make the Most of Innovation & the New Opportunities It Brings
What technology could you live without these days?
What do you take for granted?
No matter how you answer those questions, the truth is it’s natural to resist change and innovation.
After all, we’re more comfortable with what we know. That’s familiar and predictable.
Change can get in the way of that and create more uncertainty and anxiety. That’s true even if change offers shortcuts or some improvement to our lives.10
And it’s especially true when we’re talking about technology and digital transformation.11,12
Why does that matter?
Well, if we know how we react to change, we can respond better.
We can recognize when we’re relying on dated thinking and when it may be better to start thinking outside the box.
And we can make more of an effort to stay open, be flexible, and adapt.
If we do, we can see the big picture, better strategies, and the new, exciting opportunities that come with change.
And that can be easier to do with people we trust.
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This material is for information purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information; no warranty, expressed or implied, is made regarding accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability, or usefulness of any information. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. For illustrative use only.