Why an invention takes decades to realize its potential?

Ranjit Damodaran
2 min readNov 23, 2022

Have you noticed inventions that made a significant impact on our day-to-day life? However, when it was invented, it was not wholeheartedly welcomed, and people saw any practical use at that time. It came to the broader public imagination only after a certain period.

Let’s take a few examples. Of the greatest invention of the last century, the smartphone has a special place. Though the smartphone was conceived and patented by Theodore G. Paraskevakos in 1973, it became a reality only in 1999 after Japanese giant Docomo started advertising and selling the handset. Now more than 82% of the world's population is using smartphones. The concept of smartphones took almost three decades to catch the popular imagination.

Television was successfully demonstrated around San Francisco on Sept. 7, 1927. However, full-scale television programs haven't started till 1947. Now, almost 1.72 billion homes worldwide have TV, and 98% of United States household has Television.

Here are some of the timelines for invention and acceptance

  • The radio was invented in 1894, and the first morse code send by 1901
  • The computer was invented in 1822 by Charles Babbage. However, The ENIAC was the first electronic general-purpose digital computer around 1945.
  • Internet around 1983, and its usage started in 1987.
  • CRISPR was discovered in 1987, but it was used as a gene-editing tool around 2013.
  • The possibility of Artificial intelligence was conceived in 1943, and its first use was on 1951

Many technologies like Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things., 3D Printing, Computer Vision, Touchscreen and infinity display, Crowdfunding websites, and Cloud computing took decades to make into reality.

These delays in actualization are due to many reasons. Some of them are the delays in finding the proper use case for the usages. Sometimes people are not ready to accept the new changes. We have seen that technology like Google Glass is ahead of its time, but people are not ready to accept then. William Morrison cars well before e preferred hydrocarbon-based vehicles, and it took another century to revive them.

It is in human behavior, and we don't accept changes immediately — like continuity, stability, and social order. Abrupt changes to the lifestyle have a disturbing effect on humans. Humans take time to assimilate changes, and humans love to ponder upon a new change before completely assimilating.



Ranjit Damodaran

Tech enthusiast, Project Management. Interested in Complexity science, Economics, Psychology, Philosophy, Human Nature, Behavioral Economics, almost anything.