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Technology is Not a Foregone Conclusion

Tech that provides obvious utility must first kill its hardest opponent: the status quo. Ridicule, skepticism, and apathy all take turns attempting to tear apart an idea and leave it in tatters. ^c8707a

Some unfortunate byproducts:

  • when inventions do succeed it makes tech visionaries seems cooler than they are as people -- the idea of "being proven right" is an ichor that drives many inventors into the arms of ego or pride. akin to a holy conduit who can hear the word of God to the other members of society
  • before an invention succeeds social leaders will grandstand to prevent any new inventions that challenge their incumbency
Arguably the single most graphic example of the telegraph’s superiority over conventional means of delivering messages was to come a few years later, in October 1861, with the completion of the transcontinental telegraph line across the United States to California. Before the line was completed, the only link between East and West was provided by the Pony Express, a mail delivery system involving horse and rider relays. Colorful characters like William ‘‘Buffalo Bill’’ Cody and ‘‘Pony Bob’’ Haslam took about 10 days to carry messages over the 1,800 miles between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento. But as soon as the telegraph line along the route was in place, messages could be sent instantly, and the Pony Express was closed down. (Location 689)
pony bob.png
Technology isn’t destiny, no matter how inexorable its evolution may seem; the way its capabilities are used is as much a matter of cultural choice and historical accident as politics is, or fashion. (Location 11979)