Understanding or misconception – How are new technologies adopted?

The Unknown

Before a promising idea becomes an innovative product in the market, it often faces social condemnation, physical barriers, or even direct attacks [1, 2]. In fact, history shows that great successes have sometimes been preceded by even greater misunderstandings.

Making mistakes is human – 10 examples

1777 – “Everyone uses coffee; it must be prevented. His Majesty grew up with beer, as did his ancestors and officers.” (Frederick II, King of Prussia) [3]: The introduction of coffee in Europe disrupted the complex social fabric held together by earlier beverages like beer, causing economic shifts and serving as a catalyst for new routines and business practices [4]. Today, coffee is the world’s most popular beverage, with about two billion cups consumed daily [5].

1878 – “The Americans may need the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” (Sir William Henry Preece, Chief Engineer of the British Post) [6]: The telephone eventually became one of the most significant inventions of all time, facilitating efficient trade and social interaction over long distances, exerting a profound influence on society [7].

1886 – “I believe in the horse. The automobile is only a temporary phenomenon.” (Kaiser Wilhelm II; last German Emperor) [8]. 1901 – “The global demand for motor vehicles will not exceed one million, solely due to a lack of available chauffeurs.” (Gottlieb Daimler, developer of the first four-wheeled combustion engine motor vehicle) [9]: Despite thousands of years between the invention of the wheel and the first self-propelled vehicle [9], the automobile revolutionized the transportation of goods and people, as well as personal mobility, in just a few years. Currently, there are approximately 1.3 billion automobiles worldwide, with the trend still rising. Furthermore, the production of automobiles was one of the initial drivers for the concept of assembly line manufacturing [10].

1896 – “Concrete construction has no great future.” (Breymann’s General Building Construction of 1986) [11]: Since the beginning of the 20th century, concrete construction has gained special relevance in the field of construction, eventually driving the development of legal frameworks for concrete construction in Europe [11]. Since then, concrete has become the most widely used building material globally, with a significant portion being reinforced concrete [12].

1927 – “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” (Harry Morris Warner, head of Warner Brothers) [13]: Visual media has indeed become a crucial conduit for historical messages in our culture [14]. Presently, the entertainment industry packages experiences by providing access to simulated worlds and virtual realities [15].

1943 – “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” (Thomas Watson, CEO of IBM) [16]: Computers are now ubiquitous in nearly all aspects of life [17], primarily storing and processing data and information for simple to highly complex calculations, simulations, databases, control of technical devices, animations, and games.

1946 – “Television won’t hold on the market. People will soon tire of staring at a plywood box every night.” (Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century Fox) [18]: As a communication and entertainment system, television continues to serve as a social context that enables sensory community and social gathering [19].

1962 – “They have a sound that is impossible. Guitar groups are on the way out.” (DECCA Records to the Beatles’ manager) [20]: The Beatles are the best-selling music group of all time. Their music influenced generations of musicians and styles, leading to guitar sales outperforming other instruments [21].

2020 – “Fiber composite materials: Future material with open disposal.” (Federal Environment Agency) [22]: In the 2010s, significant prerequisites were established to gradually establish carbon concrete construction in the market. Alongside this, all technical and process-related conditions for a circular value chain of fiber composite materials emerged, aiming to build a circular value creation for fiber-containing secondary raw materials in the “Elbe Valley Saxony” region.

What do we learn?

History demonstrates that new approaches and promising developments don’t always garner maximum trust from the outset. To enhance the acceptance of using recycled fibers for fiber composite materials, the “WIRreFa | WIR! recyceln Fasern” alliance has taken on the task of collaborating with support from politics and administration to create a competitive framework. It aims to address technological developments alongside industry and academia and, with societal assistance, shape a market-significant and environmentally compatible direction.

As of 2024-05-06

List of references
[1] R. Mac Ginty, Conflict disruption: reassessing the peace and conflict system, Journal of Intervention and State building, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp. 40–58, 2022, DOI: 10.1080/17502977.2021.1889167.
[2] C. Juma, Why do people resist new technologies? History might provide the answer, World Economic Forum, 2016, URL: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/07/why-do-people-resist-new-technologies-history-has-answer.
[3] J. Brooks, When Frederick The Great went to war on coffee, Brookston Beer Bulletin, 2019, URL: https://brookstonbeerbulletin.com/when-frederick-the-great-went-to-war-on-coffee.
[4] C. Juma, Innovation and its enemies: why people resist new technologies, First edition, 2016.
[5] British Coffee Association, Coffee consumption, URL: https://britishcoffeeassociation.org/coffee-consumption.
[6] R. Cellan-Jones, The future of technology… who knows? BBC News, 2012, URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-17510101.
[7] V. Forgeard, How the telephone changed the world, Brilliantio, 2022, URL: https://brilliantio.com/how-did-the-telephone-change-the-world.
[8] T. Chesshyre, Stuttgart’s Mercedes Benz museum, The Times, 2009, URL: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/stuttgarts-mercedes-benz-museum-pj5vvf0ff8v.
[9] E. Eckermann, World history of the automobile, Warrendale, Pa: Society of Automotive Engineers, 2001.
[10] N.C. Government & Heritage Library, The automobile: social game changer, NCPedia, 2020, URL: https://www.ncpedia.org/automobile-social-game-changer-k-8.
[11] J. Rehm, Eisenbeton im Hochbau bis 1918: Dokumentation und Analyse realisierter Bauwerke im Raum München, First edition, 2019, DOI: 10.14459/2019md1468996.
[12] J. K. Wight, Reinforced concrete: mechanics and design, Seventh edition, Global edition, 2016.
[13] D. Root, Who the hell wants to hear actors talk? Soo Today, 2008, URL: https://www.sootoday.com/columns/the-root-of-it-all/who-the-hell-wants-to-hear-actors-talk-151099.
[14] R. A. Rosenstone, Hrsg., Revisioning history: film and the construction of a new past, in Princeton studies in culture/power/history, 1995.
[15] S. Sayre und C. King, Entertainment and society: influences, impacts, and innovations, Second edition, 2010.
[16] N. Carr, How many computers does the world need? Fewer than you think, 2008, URL: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2008/feb/21/computing.supercomputers.
[17] P. J. Bentley, Digitized: the science of computers and how it shapes our world, First edition, 2012.
[18] J. Ritz, Zukunft, in Mobilitätswende – autonome Autos erobern unsere Straßen, 2018, pp. 21–26, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-658-20953-7_4.
[19] P. C. Adams, Television as gathering place, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Volume 82, Issue 1, pp. 117–135, 1992, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8306.1992.tb01901.x.
[20] H. Schliesselberger, Und manchmal kommt es anders…, Salzburger Nachrichten, 2021, URL: https://www.sn.at/kolumne/schli/und-manchmal-kommt-es-anders-111961861.
[21] R. McSwain, The power of the electric guitar, Popular Music and Society, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp. 21–40, 1995, DOI: 10.1080/03007769508591605.
[22] Umweltbundesamt, Faserverbundwerkstoffe, Zukunftsmaterial mit offener Entsorgung, 2020, URL: https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/faserverbundwerkstoffe-zukunftsmaterial-offener#faserverbundwerkstoffe-und-ihr-potenzial-fur-klima-und-ressourcenschonung.

About the partnership

Be part of the alliance and join us in facing the challenges with regard to the no longer avoidable handling of fiber composites. Let us together lead the region “Elbe Valley Saxony” into an economically resilient future.