When was the last time you got soaked in the rain because you were too embarrassed to carry an umbrella? However strange this may sound today, umbrellas were initially slow to catch on because they were a sign that you were too poor to afford your own carriage. Eventually, people decided being dry was more comfortable than being proud — especially Brits who endure more drizzle than most — and the benefits of using an umbrella outweighed the social embarrassment.
The humble fork faced a similar resistance. Initially rejected for being “excessively delicate”, it took changes to knife and plate design, as well as some celebrity star power to secure the fork’s now ubiquitous setting at the dinner table.
A recent edition of Slate’s “Secret History of Future” reflects on why society is slow to adopt new technologies and how oddities become necessities. They also speak with X’s Astro Teller about what these adoption curves might mean for Glass. With many workers now using Glass to view instruction manuals or checklists while their hands are busy, utility and functionality are once again forging the way for social acceptance. Dig out your walkman and take a listen here: