Sometimes a particular kind of technology spreads very fast. But in some cases it takes some time before it finds mass acceptance and use. For example, safety matches were discovered and produced in the middle of 19th century. But it took 70 years before these were widely used. On the other hand, the safety lamp for miners invented by Davy became popular all over Europe within a decade of its invention.
Reasons for Rapid Adoption of New Technology
Let us examine some of the reasons why a particular technology spread faster than others.
(a) Meets a deeply-felt need
Quick adoption of a technology depends upon deeply-felt needs of man. For example, in medical science, some instruments were required to examine the samples of blood, urine and faces. The instruments, kits and techniques which were developed for this purpose and those for recording blood pressure a for recording blood pressure and heartbeat, for the examination of internal organs and bones, found immediate application throughout the world. Similarly, a ball point pen offered an advantage over the older fountain pen and was quickly adopted.
(b) Ease and efficiency of operation
If a technology offers a material or gadget which is simple to operate, easy to maintain, and is long lasting. It is bound to be quickly adopted. We can take the example of plastics which became popular because of these reasons. Similarly, the hand-held electronic calculator became popular because it is easier to use and more efficient than slide rules and other calculating devices.
(c) Economic advantage of the method
We again take plastic vessels to justify this point. Plastic is light and poor conductor of heat. Plastic is light and poor conductor of heat. Plastic vessels found wider use because they do not break, easily. In this way their use turns out to be economical in the long run.
(d) Quick availability of technology
Rapid adoption of a particular technology also depends upon whether the raw materials and technical details about their manufacture and repair are available quickly and freely in different parts of the development of metallurgy, availability of raw materials and techniques is important for quick adoption. For example, electronic computers used to be manufactured only by large corporations. These were very costly and few people used them. Then came the personal computers (PCs) whose technology was available all over the world in a short period of time. As a result, a large number of companies started manufacturing these and now they are the most popular class of computers available.
Rapid adoption of a particular technology could be the reason why one type of technology is replaced by another. When chemical fertilizers became available, the use of manures became available; the use of manures became less common. With the availability of automobiles, animal-driven carts became less popular. Can you say why smaller electronic equipment like walky-talkies, cordless phones, personal computers and calculators has become so popular ?