Innovation Must Make Mistakes

I often see people stuck with a limited vision of the future and the possibilities technological innovation will open up.

An example I like to give is an autonomous swarm of robots extracting the mineral resources of the asteroid belt for a space industry colonizing the outer solar system. These will need to cooperate and coordinate, communicate, exchange propellant, transport and transfer ownership of the extracted raw materials, refine them, manage semi-finished products, etc.

In the limited view of the critics, therefore:

  1. This scenario or others like it will never happen; or
  2. Robots will pay using banknotes for the resources they need and notaries with their dusty stacks of papers for property registers; or
  3. The new technologies for native solutions to an autonomous interplanetary space economy will be born perfect, without experimentation and errors that allow their progressive development.

In my opinion, each of these possibilities is wrong.

Innovation can only come from experimentation, with mistakes to learn from, in technology, business models, marketing, etc. The inevitable imperfections of new technologies should therefore not be seen as proof of their uselessness.