Why Do Humans Move Technology So Slowly?

There is a funny one-liner joke that engineers, innovators, and inventors like to talk about when discussing future technologies in our civilization. And it goes something like this; “yah sure, and where’s my flying car already?” That is a good question, and for the last three or four decades we’ve all been promised and assuming that by now we’d all be driving flying cars, but that’s not the case. Do you ever wonder why? It’s not that we don’t have the materials, or the economies of scale to keep the prices down so everyone could afford one, we do.

I would submit to you that the problem has to do with government intervention, and rules and regulations. Specifically there are three main problems I’d like to address as to why humans move technology so slowly into the future, and why many of the futurist predictions won’t occur for decades to come, if ever. The three items are;

1. Bureaucracy
2. Rules and Regulations
3. An Aversion to High Risk Ventures

As the coordinator for a think tank which operates online, I can tell you this, every time I see a new innovation come across my desk, or a business plan for a green tech company, I start adding up all the costs associated with bringing it to market; specifically, all the permits, patents, licenses, fees, regulations, rules, and case law. Most entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators are a bit naïve when it comes to all that, and whatever figure they came up with needing for their startup capital, well you may as well multiply it by 5 or more.

The other problem, which in a way has to do with lawyers, lawsuits, and case law is that it then requires insurance, and safeguards to prevent such things. Before you know it and considering all the costs, it’s simply undoable, and the risks become too great. Not for the innovator, but for anyone who’d normally be willing to risk capital in such a venture. You see, innovation requires risk, and if you aren’t willing to take that risk with your money, or life and limb, then you cannot push the envelope or innovative future.

Most of the rules and regulations are put in place to prevent risk to the public or the individual. Even making rules to protect people from themselves, protecting people from taking risks and this becomes a catch-22. So I ask; how can we have one hand have our government tell us that we need to innovate and win the future, and then on the other hand prevent us from taking any risks to see it through? It’s absolutely utterly ridiculous, and our society will become stagnant if we don’t fix this.

This is why humans move technology so slowly, especially in nations like the United States, where the people, bureaucrats, lawyers, and investors are afraid of risk. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

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