Innovation is a big part of American culture and history. It’s true. Americans invented transistors (which make all of today’s electronics possible), suspension bridges, airplanes, the internet, global positioning systems, 3D printing, and countless other products that we now can’t imagine living without.
A recent poll from GET Creative, a division of USA TODAY NETWORK, and marketing research firm Ipsos shows many Americans endorse the benefits of technology rather than succumbing to fear of the unknown, with 92 percent of respondents believing that innovation is a big part of American culture and history.
“Technopanic” is a term that has lived in media-fueled echo chambers for more than a decade now. However, the idea that the general public is unnerved, frightened, or has anxiety over technological advancements isn’t as valid as some might think.
In fact, 67 percent of respondents said their overall life is better compared to their parents’ because of technology. Additionally, 58 percent of respondents said that, because of technology, the overall lives of their children would be better than their own.
Broken down further, respondents said technology makes their children’s lives better in terms of:
- Keeping in touch with family and friends (70 percent)
- Entertainment (67 percent)
- Their job (62 percent)
- Shopping (65 percent)
- Education (63 percent)
With technology developing at a rapid pace, imagine the world in which our great-great grandchildren could live. Families could be even more connected; education could be more engaging. It’s very likely that world will one day exist. Americans are also excited about the change technology could bring to their own lives. When asked which areas of technological change they are most excited about for the future, respondents stated the following:
- Medical innovation (medical devices, pharmacological breakthroughs, etc.) (61 percent)
- Energy (33 percent)
- Transportation (29 percent)
- Personal electronics (27 percent)
- Education (25 percent)
There’s every reason to believe Americans in the coming decades will continue to invent world-changing products, with 77 percent of respondents agreeing that the United States is one of the world’s leaders in innovation. When America’s greatest engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs are given room to innovate, history can be made, and the world can be changed for the better.
The best way to achieve that is to ensure the regulatory environment is conducive to fostering innovation.
It’s often not a lack of technological capability that holds a new product back — it’s regulation. The more innovative a product is, the more likely it is that red tape will slow down the process of getting that product to consumers.
Regulation should be imposed only when there’s a compelling case that a product presents a serious risk to the public. Otherwise, innovative ideas should be able to develop and grow without unnecessary burdens. Concerns can be addressed when appropriate.
Of survey respondents, 85 percent agreed that society should focus more on innovating to solve problems. The public is ready to see what America’s greatest minds can do.