10 Important Technologies That Were Initially Underestimated


Technology has entered our lives at lightning speed, causing a stir in every possible industry and changing how humans live over the past decades. Before, we had to browse a library of books to find information, buy various games from stores to entertain ourselves, visit a few clothing shops to find apparel we liked, and send letters to communicate with someone far away. But now, computers let you do all these with a few taps on a screen. That’s just one example of technology that changed the world, and many others flew under the radar until they became household names. If you want to learn about ten other tech innovations that were initially underestimated but proved everyone wrong, as they are now staples in modern society, keep reading!

1. Electric Cars

Cars are important inventions that have made transportation more comfortable and convenient. However, they are some of the main contributors to climate change, as they emit greenhouse gases while burning gasoline, an unrenewable fossil fuel. Great minds invented electric cars to eliminate this effect, as they do not burn fuel and release little to no emissions. With companies like Tesla leading the way, electric vehicles that were underestimated before are becoming more commonplace and challenging the various car manufacturers.

These cars are revolutionizing the entire automotive industry. For one, auto repairs for these vehicles involve different processes. These vehicles don’t require oil changes nor create exhaust stains. They are clean, green driving machines that only require electric charging, regular inspections, and the occasional auto detailing to keep them tidy.

The technology inside these vehicles is also becoming more sophisticated. Many electric vehicles are equipped with advanced autopilot features that allow for self-driving capabilities, making the road a bit safer and more convenient with the help of satellites and sensors. Of course, the more common smartphone integration lets you control various things inside the vehicle, from changing the audio and adjusting the air conditioning to locking or unlocking doors to accessing the vehicle’s charging information.

2. The Internet

Ah, the internet — one of the most underestimated innovations that almost every human on Earth now uses. Nobody saw it coming. At first, the internet was only a group of computers connected to each other to exchange emails. But it eventually evolved like dial-up connections leveled up to fiber optics. We officially can’t live without this sophisticated technology that many thought was a novelty.

The internet is now a part of our everyday lives. If you want to try making a crème brulée, you can just do a quick Google search and watch a tutorial on YouTube. If you want to talk to a friend in Asia, you can log in to Facebook and start a video call. Even businesses use it to optimize their operations. Many companies have websites and online stores where you can purchase items or hire services. There are also SEO agencies that are making millions by making searching for businesses much easier.

You can connect even home appliances to the internet. With hundreds of smart appliances and gadgets released daily, you can now control them on your phone as long as they’re enabled. There are also voice assistants that you can command, eliminating the need to click through apps and saving you a few seconds. The internet will inevitably evolve as people find new ways to integrate various tech devices into their lives.

3. LED Lighting

Incandescent bulbs were people’s most common lighting option in the olden days. These bulbs use a filament that’s heated using electricity to glow and emit light. But because of the heat, it can easily burn your hand if you touch it or cause a fire if the circumstances are right. We currently use LED lights, which people underestimated before because they used to flicker like crazy. They can be found everywhere now, from residential homes to streets and highways.

LED lights are innovative inventions that offer energy efficiency. They emit less heat, use less electricity, and last longer. They are also recyclable, which is better for the environment. Because of these benefits, people use them to light up various spaces, from indoor offices to outdoor seating areas. Whether for romantic dinners or business events, LED lights are here to stay.

4. GPS Technology

In the old days, if you wanted to go somewhere you’d never been before, you needed to either ask someone who’d been there or do extensive research using maps and a bit of guessing. You’d rely on intuition if new roads are added or you get lost. But GPS is here, helping us navigate foreign roads much easier.

People underestimated GPS technology because they thought it was only for tech geeks. After all, it looked like a big hunk of metal when it was first released. However, as space work advanced, satellites allowed for better navigation. Coupled with devices becoming smaller and more portable, GPS became a superstar when moving through unfamiliar locations.

You can find this technology in every smartphone. With free GPS apps and location features, you can easily pinpoint specific locations on a virtual map and find your way wherever you want. These maps are updated regularly, allowing any changes to be documented and published to users in real-time. Whether you’re driving, biking, or walking, GPS is now an indispensable tool that you can use to never lose your way.

5. Air Conditioning

Air conditioning systems are the unsung heroes of the hot season. Before the rise of electric fans, you’d have to fan yourself with a magazine or pray for a breeze to cool your skin. But now, AC units are all around, regulating the temperatures of homes and businesses to ensure comfort.

However, air conditioning systems were underestimated tech innovations because they used to be luxurious items reserved for the wealthy. Before, these devices were large metal units that looked like a train. They were very expensive and required extensive maintenance to keep them functional. Even an energy company will wonder what might consume such large amounts of energy during those times. Of course, they’re now more accessible as the cost of making them dropped as years went by, which led to residential and commercial properties having them installed.

This technology is more than just for people’s comfort. It also aids in maintaining other technologies that can easily overheat and malfunction. AC units are in various data centers and electronics sites, regulating the temperatures of machines that store millions of information for businesses. Especially during sweltering summers, these inventions save people and devices from damaging heat.

6. Microwave Ovens

The kitchen is also full of technology that used to be underestimated by homeowners in the past. One of these appliances that people doubted would be useful for cooking is the microwave oven. Women were so used to slaving away in front of a hot stove or waiting for the oven to work its magic that they thought the microwave would clutter their cooking space. But as we know it, it’s a part of almost every home, just waiting to give you a hot and piping meal (with a bit of a frozen core if you cooked a frozen dinner).

Microwave ovens create ‘microwaves’ or vibrations that heat the water in food. This process speeds up the process of heating foods much faster than a stove or oven can. The design also offers much convenience for clean-up, as the sleek interiors are made of metal and can be wiped with just a damp cloth. With a press of a few buttons, a meal is ready in minutes.

Of course, part of why people didn’t want to get microwave ovens from an appliance store in the past is because of fear of cancer. Microwaves are a type of radiation that can heat food and the human body when in close contact with the device. However, with the improvement of technology and more awareness about usage safety, these inventions are used everywhere to heat everything from frozen pizza to mugs of water.

7. Smartphones

As discussed, smartphones are now everywhere. These handheld tech devices work like magic, allowing you to do anything you want, whether you buy clothes, order food, hail a cab, call a loved one, or play a game. But believe it or not, they were also dismissed in the past, as people underestimated the capabilities of devices that don’t need to be constantly plugged into a wall. Yes, they started from larger, clunkier phones, but advancements in technology made them as compact as can be with all the abilities of a large desktop computer, or even more!

Everyone on the streets now has a smartphone. Because they easily connect to the internet, they can do almost anything you need without any issues. For example, you can ask for directions when you’re lost. You can look up a weird question and get answers within seconds. You can contact disability law offices if you need help to defend your rights as someone with a handicap. Everything is literally at your fingertips.

However, these smartphones also opened up a few issues, one of which is smartphone addiction. Many people can’t part with their phones for a few hours, fearing they’ll miss out on things or get bored in real life. These devices are so powerful that they can take over our lives quickly if we let them. So, if you find yourself scrolling through social media aimlessly for hours, consider turning it off and spending your day discovering other things that are worth your time.

8. Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence is taking over, and machine learning is one of its main products. Back then, programmers had to write many lines of code to make a computer program do something basic, like solve a simple addition equation. However, as they mastered automation technology, they managed to do the impossible and got to where we are today. Machine learning is how AI learns from the millions of data it receives. Using algorithms, it can review data, learn from it, and make informed decisions, allowing for better automation.

Many people doubted AI and machine learning, thinking people can’t create computers that can ‘think’ themselves. They underestimated human capabilities when creating something as smart as themselves because look where we are now. People can command smart assistants, chat with bots, write lines of text, and even generate artwork. There are also self-driving cars for drivers and automatic movie suggestions for the casual binge-watcher.

This technology is also stirring up business industries. For one, accounting firms can now analyze economic trends and spot patterns to predict financial futures. Healthcare providers can automatically diagnose patients, while journalists can produce an article without typing an entire sentence. Although machine learning is still in its infancy, it will reshape the future in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.

9. Barcodes

The public also underestimated those black-and-white stripes on various store items. Society was so used to punching in prices manually when you had to buy something from a winery or a bed store that the thought of convenient barcodes seemed too good to be true. But they are now on almost everything you can buy, ready to be scanned and paid for in seconds.

Barcodes are also used in other tasks besides checking prices. As you know, logistics businesses use barcodes and scanners to check inventory and monitor deliveries. With advancements in QR and RFID, barcodes were the blueprint for scanning codes to make quicker business transactions. From groceries to malls, these tiny printed lines are revolutionizing different industries and impacting people’s convenience.

10. Satellite Communications

Lastly, satellite communications are one of the most underestimated pieces of technology people initially didn’t believe in. These huge metal contraptions are floating in space, constantly receiving information from Earth and sending it back to other machines for analysis. They help circulate data around the world without taking days to exchange information.

Satellite communication is the backbone of GPS navigation. It also plays a part in emergency services, from bringing rescuers to a hidden site to calling a 24 hour tow truck service for a stranded driver in the middle of nowhere. Even with no cell service, satellites provide a way to communicate with other people, especially in remote areas where connectivity is not an option. These innovations keep us connected, no matter where we are.

From electric cars to satellite communications, many underestimated pieces of technology have proved people wrong and are now a part of everyday life. Many of these seemed like novelties then, but great minds kept challenging assumptions and impossibilities, so much so that they reshaped the world with modern innovations. The next time you use one of these devices, consider how far they’ve come and all the doubt they received from non-believers. Look into the future and see how much more we can push the boundaries of science and technology.


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