Optimism Toward New Technology Can Be Risky

As technology grows increasingly relevant to pharmacy, a healthy skepticism is encouraged among pharmacists who invest in new technological devices.

As technology grows increasingly relevant to pharmacy, a healthy skepticism is encouraged among pharmacists who invest in new technological devices.

New research suggests a “technology effect” exists in which new technology is associated with success. This effect may lead companies to become overly optimistic about how new technology will lead to successful outcomes.

“Technology has advanced to the extent that people may not understand how a particular technology works, but they do assume that it will work,” said Chris Robert, PhD, MA, associate professor of management in the University of Missouri Trulaske College of Business, in a press release. “We found that people unconsciously associate technology with the notion of success, and this association influences decisions about things like financial decisions, and forecasts of business performance.”

The effect is especially prominent when the technology in question is unfamiliar. In one of the experiments, participants showed a greater attraction to stocks related to technology, even though the stocks were not supposed to outperform other options.

The researchers also pointed out that the media typically pays less attention to technological failures, or disappointments are transformed into temporary problems.

“It turns out that people have more confidence that unfamiliar technologies will provide solutions to a range of problems,” Dr. Robert said in a press release. “People seem to put new technology in a category of ‘great things that work, which I love, but don’t understand,’ whereas they are not as excited about familiar technologies like electricity, solar power or telephones, and they don't believe these technologies are as likely to provide new solutions.”