New concepts

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Most of us understand the differing reactions to new product concepts. Early adopters seek out and embrace the new, while most other people have a wait-and-see attitude. Sometimes the radical new elicits downright terror.

Take what happened a hundred or so years ago with the introduction of the automobile. People were deathly afraid of them, but perhaps not for the reasons you might imagine like safety or noise. Rather, people were convinced cars were a terrible idea because they were brainless, not possessing even the intelligence of a horse. How could a totally stupid machine ever succeed?

New concepts and innovations that threaten the status quo are often viewed with suspicious eyes. Things were just fine the way they were.

Yet, without the rapid pace of progress, we’d still be listening to 78 rpm records through sewing-needle-sized stylus.

As we move forward into the age of artificial intelligence, building robots that are indistinguishable from their biological creators, and interactive immersive sound reproduction appliances that seem more comfortable in the hands of Lieutenant Commander Data than your next-door neighbor, it’s probably good to remind ourselves that technology’s here to serve us as opposed to the ever-constant angst some fear as a loss of control.

My car’s now a hell of a lot smarter than a horse, but I still tell it where to go.